NOW IS THE TIME TO STAND UP FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY.
PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE MESSAGE AND TAKE ACTION AS SOON AS YOU CAN.
Yesterday Senator John Warner (R-VA) submitted a last-minute amendment to
the Defense Authorization Bill currently in Conference Committee that will
have the effect of stopping not only the Nantucket Sound Wind Farm but, in
effect, ALL OFFSHORE WIND-BASED RENEWABLE ENERGY INITIATIVES IN THE UNITED
STATES. If you care about the future of energy in this country, and are as
outraged as we are about Sen. Warner's methods, please take some time to
make your feelings heard.
Warner, the Republican Senate Chair of the Committee, is proposing language
that would prevent the Army Corps of Engineers (the approved permitting
authority for offshore development) from acting on any offshore wind farm
application, INCLUDING ANY CURRENTLY PENDING, until Congress specifically
authorizes the use of outer Continental Shelf land for such purposes.
Although this sounds benign, anyone who knows how our government works
knows that this will, in reality, stop all offshore wind projects in the
US. In other words, Warner, WHO OWNS A SUMMER HOME IN OSTERVILLE, is
effectively sacrificing the future of renewable energy in the U.S. so that
the Nantucket Sound Wind Farm will not go ahead. Worse, he is inserting
this amendment into the bill at such a late stage that there will be
virtually no time to debate it. In other words, he is sneaking a provision
that will be harmful to the country into an inappropriate bill at the last
moment to ensure its passage. Whatever !
your position on renewable energy, you may well be disgusted at these
tactics, which masquerade as government of the people by the people for the
THE FULL TEXT OF THE AMENDMENT AND ADDRESSES OF THE RELEVANT LEGISLATORS
WHO NEED TO HEAR YOUR OPINION ARE INCLUDED AT THE END OF THIS MESSAGE.
To put this development into context:
At a time when Americans are more concerned then ever in reducing our
dependence on Mideast oil with our soldiers fighting and dying in Iraq and
with record oil prices, Senator Warner is attempting to block one of
America's options for reducing our dependence on the Middle East -
developing clean, offshore, American wind power.
Senator Warner's amendment would prevent the US Army Corps of Engineers
from being involved in permitting offshore wind projects, a move that would
set back America's offshore wind energy projects for years if not decades.
Right now, seventeen federal and state agencies are in their third year of
reviewing Cape Wind's proposal to provide three quarters of the electricity
for Cape Cod and the Islands from clean wind power, a region that is now
heavily dependent upon oil to generate its electricity. This review
process is using the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the
process is supported by many of America's most respected environmental
organizations for being thorough, and for protecting the public interest.
Senator Warner's amendment would also prevent Governor Pataki and the Long
Island Power Authority from moving forward in their efforts to initiate a
permitting process for an offshore wind farm south of Long Island as well
as blocking any other potential for harvesting offshore wind off the coasts
of the United States.
Warner's amendment would directly contradict and impede President Bush's
Executive Order to expedite the production of domestic energy resources.
Offshore wind energy projects can significantly reduce operations at fossil
fuel power plants, thereby improving air quality and the health of all
Americans. Cape Wind would also offset over a million tons of greenhouse
gases each year, equal to taking over 150,000 cars off the road from this
one offshore wind farm alone.
The 4,000 page Draft Environmental Impact Statement of the US Army Corps of
Engineers on Cape Wind will thoroughly address all of the environmental and
economic issues that government agencies need to consider. However, the
document is currently being held up at the Pentagon, a development that is
possibly related to Senator Warner's amendment. Meanwhile, the tentative
decision of the Massachusetts Energy Facility Siting Board found that Cape
Wind's power is needed for both regional reliability and economic reasons.
Warner's amendment is predicated upon the need for offshore wind projects
to have a competitive bidding process, despite the fact that it is the
policy of the United States government not to require this of commercial
wind energy projects on federal lands because the Bureau of Land Management
is actively trying to encourage greater commercial wind energy development
on federal lands. Issues regarding leasing or rent can be addressed
concurrently with the ongoing and crucial NEPA permitting review on these
projects designed to reduce America's reliance on foreign oil and to
improve the air quality for all Americans.
Introducing this amendment late into the Conference Committee process is a
blatant attempt to prevent public scrutiny and input into this crucial
public policy decision. When the House held hearings on the issue last
year, the overwhelming testimony (including labor and environmental
witnesses, as well as the Massachusetts legislative leadership) was that
any changes should not interfere or disrupt the ongoing review of existing
project applications. Warner's amendment would single out clean offshore
wind power from any other type of proposed commercial activity on the outer
*****THE COMMITTEE MAY TAKE UP THIS ISSUE AS EARLY AS TOMORROW, FRIDAY OCT
8TH. IF YOU ARE CONCERNED WITH RENEWABLE ENERGY AND RESPONSIBLE
GOVERNMENT, PLEASE FAX OR TELEPHONE (PREFERRED OPTIONS) YOUR OPINIONS TO
THE FOLLOWING LEGISLATORS, IN DESCENDING ORDER OF PRIORITY.*****
Republican House Chair:
Congressman Duncan Hunter
52nd District of California
2265 Rayburn House Office Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20515
FAX: (202) 225-0235
Democrat House Chair:
Congressman Ike Skelton
4th Congressional District of Missouri
U.S. House of Representatives
2206 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-2504
Democrat Senate Chair:
Senator Carl Levin
269 Russell Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-2202
Phone (202) 224-6221
Fax (202) 224-1388
Republican Senate Chair
Senator John Warner
225 Russell Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-6295 FAX
LANGUAGE OF THE AMENDMENT:
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of the Army shall
not process or otherwise act on any application (including an application
pending on the date of enactment of this Act) submitted under section 10 of
the Act of March 3, 1899 (30 Stat.1151, chapter 425) for any wind energy
project to be located on the outer Continental Shelf until such time as
Congress provides to the Federal Government express authorization
(including authorization to establish requirements for competitive bidding,
compensation to the United States for any land use rights granted, and
promulgation of environmental and other standards to govern the
aurthorization) to grant interests in land of the outer Continental Shelf
for use for wind energy projects.