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Letter To The Honorable Ken Salazar, U.S. Secretary Of The Interior

As the U.S. Department of the Interior begins to reorganize the Minerals Management Service (MMS) -- now known as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) -- following the Deepwater Horizon crisis, Delaware's federal delegation urged Secretary Ken Salazar in a July 14 letter to ensure that developing offshore wind energy is not delayed. Sens. Tom Carper and Ted Kaufman (both D-Del.) and Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) expressed their concern that if offshore wind remains under the jurisdiction of BOEMRE, the development of an offshore clean energy plan for the United States could be compromised.

The bipartisan letter, which was also signed by two additional Senators and four other members of Congress, states, "Minimizing administrative delay is vital to the success of offshore wind projects in the near and long-term, and for this reason we write to express our desire to see that offshore wind and renewable energy issues be regulated outside of BOEMRE at least temporarily."

The delegation requested that the Interior Department explore the possibility of, "a special office or bureau specifically dedicated to offshore wind and renewables."

Not only does the letter address the growing popularity of emissions-free electrical power, it mentions a recent Department of Interior/U.S. Department of Energy report that confirms that winds off the coast of the United States are a promising source of clean, renewable electrical power.

Currently, the Delaware coast is set to be one of the first places in U.S. coastal waters to have a wind farm.

Full text of the letter below:

Dear Secretary Salazar:

In light of the recent tragedy in the Gulf and your commendable work to begin a reorganization of the Minerals Management Service (MMS), now known as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) and referred to as BOEMRE below, we are writing to ask you to ensure that progress on the crucial issue of offshore wind energy is not delayed. Specifically, we want to express our concern that if offshore wind and other renewable energy remain under the jurisdiction of BOEMRE during the reorganization, the development of an offshore energy plan for our country may be compromised.

Your decisive actions to reform BOEMRE following the recent oil spill are both laudable and necessary. Your proposal to create a new Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, a Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and an Office of Natural Resources Revenue is a positive step to align more carefully with the core missions of BOEMRE.

Additionally, we have been encouraged by your plans to establish an expeditious process for developing offshore wind and other renewable energy. Minimizing administrative delay is vital to the success of offshore wind projects in the near and long-term, and for this reason we write to express our desire to see that offshore wind and renewable energy issues be regulated outside of BOEMRE at least temporarily.

For this reason, we respectfully request that the Department explore the merits of a special office or bureau specifically dedicated to offshore wind and renewables. While BOEMRE is focused on the critical task of transforming itself into a more effective, transparent regulator, the progress the Department has made in promoting offshore wind must continue. Offshore wind farms alone represent a significant and rapidly growing source of emissions-free electrical power for our constituents and recent Department of Interior/U.S. Department of Energy reports confirm that winds off the coasts of the United States are a promising source of clean, renewable electrical power. We ask that you continue your targeted efforts to support offshore wind and renewable energy development by dedicating a special office or bureau to this task.

Thank you for your interest in this important issue and for your commitment to act quickly to continue preparing a workable, comprehensive offshore energy plan for our nation. We appreciate your consideration of our comments and, as you reorganize BOEMRE, hope that you will keep us informed of your plans for offshore wind and renewable energy.

Sincerely,

Thomas R. Carper, U.S. Senate

Edward E. Kaufman, U.S. Senate

Michael N. Castle, Member of Congress

Susan M. Collins, U.S. Senate

Olympia J. Snowe, U.S. Senate

Roscoe G. Bartlett, Member of Congress

Kathleen A. Dahlkemper, Member of Congress

Frank A. LoBiondo, Member of Congress

Paul Tonko, Member of Congress


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