Target: Secretary of the Interior Department Sally Jewell
Goal: Support the development of new sustainable offshore wind turbines.
A recent announcement from the Department of the Interior indicates that the United States may finally make sincere investments in clean, offshore wind energy. The announcement, reported by ThinkProgress and Mercury News, details plans for the sale of a large area of developable waters off the Massachusetts and Rhode Island coasts. The selected area avoids both economically vital shipping lanes and environmentally sensitive routes used by migratory birds. Altogether, the developed area “could generate 3,400 megawatts [of clean energy], enough to power more than 1 million homes.”
Following decades of delays to existing projects and proposals, this marks a major shift in federal policy with wide reaching implications. The Interior Department announcement calls for further offshore wind development along the East Coast, including potential sites off the coast of Virginia. Despite Virginia politicians’ efforts to promote oil drilling off the Eastern Shore of the Delmarva Peninsula (where Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia meet) a minimum five-year moratorium on those plans opens a window of opportunity for clean energy development.
After 2010’s disastrous Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico, the prospect of furthering offshore oil drilling remains divisive and risky. The coastlines of Virginia and Maryland contain countless ecological treasures already at-risk from pollution and overdevelopment of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Moreover, concerns about the tourism industry for cities like Virginia Beach and Ocean City, Maryland, as well as unforeseen risks to military operations from the numerous installations throughout the Hampton Roads, Virginia community, make cleaner, safer energy development both an environmental and a national security imperative.
Thank Interior Secretary Sally Jewell for her promotion of clean, sustainable offshore wind energy, and encourage her to aggressively push for continued development of these essential resources.
Dear Secretary Jewell,
Following years of delays and political wrangling the recently-announced sale of a large area suitable for offshore wind energy off the New England coast marks a decidedly positive shift in federal policy. With rapid depletion of the world’s fossil fuel reserves and continuing environmental risks posed by deepwater offshore drilling, this presents a prudent and sustainable alternative to the status quo.
The Interior Department’s emphasis upon preserving both economically vital shipping lanes and environmentally sensitive migratory bird routes demonstrates an uncommon mindfulness of America’s delicate marine resources. With Virginia politicians clamoring for offshore oil development, the five-year moratorium on such proposals opens an additional window of opportunity for sustainable and clean energy development. These recent announcements are an essential first step toward safeguarding the nation’s economic and environmental interests.
Thank you, Secretary Jewell, for your leadership and passionate advocacy for wind energy. We support your sensible approach and ask that you continue aggressively pushing for further development of sustainable energy assets along the East Coast.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Phil Hollman via Wikimedia Commons