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Oregon lawmakers call for pause on offshore wind energy plans 

Credit:  by: Michaela Bourgeois | Posted: Feb 23, 2024 | koin.com ~~

Oregon lawmakers are calling on a federal agency to postpone plans to build two offshore wind energy projects off of the Oregon coast.

In a letter sent Thursday, the bipartisan Oregon Coastal Caucus outlined concerns over a lack of public engagement for the proposed Wind Energy Areas.

The plans include offshore wind projects near Coos Bay and Brookings – totaling approximately 195,012 acres with 2.4 gigawatts of clean renewable energy potential.

BOEM finalized a proposal for two Wind Energy Areas offshore Oregon near Coos Bay and Brookings (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management).

While the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said they engaged with the state, community members, and tribes during the planning process, the lawmakers claim concerns from the stakeholders have not been adequately addressed.

“We cannot support further development of this industry in Oregon without meaningful consideration of the concerns expressed time and again by community members, marine scientists, engineers, environmentalists, fisheries, tribes, and coastal municipalities,” the caucus wrote in the letter. “We recognize the potential benefits of offshore wind development, but they cannot come at the expense of the Oregonians we represent.”

The lawmakers have two requests for BOEM, according to their letter. The first request is to extend the public comment period on the environmental assessment from 30 days to 60 days.

Next, the lawmakers urge BOEM to comply with a state-developed Offshore Wind Roadmap, proposed under House Bill 4080, which provides standards for developing offshore wind energy.

The caucus also urges BOEM to postpone any lease sales until their requests are met.

BOEM declined to comment on the letter when asked by KOIN 6 News.

Oregon state Rep. David Gomberg (D-Otis) said in a statement, “Oregon’s coastal communities deserve to have their voices heard and their concerns addressed before any further action is taken on offshore wind development,” Oregon state Rep. David Gomberg (D-Otis) said in a statement.

He added, “We simply cannot support the advancement of this industry without meaningful consideration of the impacts on our communities, marine environment, and tribal interests. If BOEM is going to do this, they must do it right. Currently, they are not.”

The letter comes after the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians expressed extreme disappointment in the plans because BOEM did not meaningfully engage with the Tribe – calling the initiative “green colonialism.”

In a previous statement announcing the finalized plans, BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein said,

“BOEM values its close coordination with the State of Oregon as we continue to work together to maintain a robust and transparent offshore wind planning process.”

“We will continue to work closely with Tribal governments, federal and state government agencies, ocean users, coastal communities and all interested stakeholders as we move forward with our environmental review.”

Source:  by: Michaela Bourgeois | Posted: Feb 23, 2024 | koin.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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