Renewable energy legislation authored by U.S. Representative Rob Wittman (VA-1) passed the U.S. House of Representatives today as part of a larger domestic energy package. Wittman's legislation, the Advancing Offshore Wind Production Act (H.R. 2173), would streamline the process for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to approve temporary infrastructure, such as towers or buoys, to test and develop offshore wind power in the Outer Continental Shelf. Wittman proposed the bill as an amendment to the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, H.R. 4480.
"Today, the House is taking an important step forward to develop domestic sources of energy, create American jobs and reduce our reliance on foreign sources of energy," Wittman said. "Offshore wind energy is an important component furthering development of clean, renewable American energy sources, and a key part of an all-of-the-above energy policy. As a scientist by trade, I understand the need to achieve a balance, to foster development of American energy while at the same time protecting the integrity of our environment. We can achieve both efficiency and protection, and this bill helps us accomplish both goals."
Offshore wind energy is an important component furthering development of clean, renewable American energy sources. The process is often unnecessarily slowed for years by bureaucratic hurdles in the permitting process. While it is critical that energy development is safe and environmentally friendly, the process must become more efficient. H.R. 2173 will speed the production of wind energy, as it sets a 30-day timeline for the Secretary of the Interior to act on permits for all weather testing and monitoring projects in the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf. This bill will also streamline the environmental review process needed to place temporary infrastructure as long as the project is removed within five years, causes less than one acre of disruption at the location of each tower or device and causes no more than 5 acres of seafloor disruption within the proposed area for the project. The bill also requires coordination with the Department of Defense and other affected agencies so the projects do not disrupt national security, or other critical projects. This provision is especially important for the Commonwealth of Virginia, with its active defense community.
H.R. 4480 passed the House today and now moves to the Senate for consideration.