If passed, federal law would allow wind farms on federal waters off coast of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico
Windmill turbine generators churning out energy off the shores of Guam and other U.S. insular territories may be a lasting legacy of outgoing Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo
Bordallo's off-shore wind bill has won unanimous passage from a Congressional committee.
Bordallo announced that the House Committee on Natural Resources unanimously passed her “Offshore Wind for Territories Act” (H.R.6665). Congresswoman Bordallo’s bill would amend federal law to authorize offshore wind energy development in the Exclusive Economic Zone adjacent to all five U.S. territories. The Natural Resources Committee unanimously reported the bill to the full House of Representatives for consideration.
Congresswoman Bordallo’s bill is supported by all five members of Congress representing U.S. territories—Reps. Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR), Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-AS), Gregorio 'Kilili' Camacho Sablan (D-MP), Stacey E. Plaskett (D-VI)—as well as Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL) from Florida. During a June 26 Subcommittee hearing, representatives of
(Photo: Joyce McClure)
the offshore wind industry and the U.S. Department of the Interior testified in support of her bill.
Current federal law, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, precludes the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management from permitting offshore wind farms in federal waters off the coasts of American Samoa, Guam the Northern Mariana Island, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands. Earlier this year, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management proposed new offshore wind development along the United States’ Atlantic coastline, including off the coasts of New York State and Massachusetts.
Congresswoman Bordallo’s “Offshore Wind for Territories Act” would:
Authorize offshore wind energy devolvement in federal waters off the coasts of the 5 U.S. territories and their respective Exclusive Economic Zones (extending 200 nautical miles seaward).
Exclude the de facto “State waters” ceded by Congress to Guam and the other territories, which will remain under exclusive territorial jurisdiction (extending 3 nautical miles seaward).
Guarantee each U.S. territory a State-equivalent share of any federal royalties collected for offshore wind or similar development in federal waters off their coasts, estimated by the Congressional Budget Office at some $20 million.
Dedicate a portion of federal royalties for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coral Reef Conservation Program, providing dedicated federal funding for coral reef conservation, research, and projects in U.S. territories and nationwide, at no additional cost to American taxpayers.
Direct the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to complete a study on the technological and economic feasibility of offshore wind energy development in all 5 U.S. territories, in consultation with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Mandate federal consultation with territorial Governors prior to any offshore wind lease sales in federal waters adjacent, regarding suitability of wind farm sites.
“I am thrilled that my Offshore Wind for Territories Act unanimously passed the Committee. Offshore wind could replace our reliance on costly foreign petroleum imports with renewable, locally produced electricity while saving residents money on their electricity bills,” said Delegate Bordallo.
“Our island could be a true leader in offshore wind, more sustainable and self-sufficient just as my late husband Governor Bordallo envisioned decades ago. Offshore wind industry leaders are very interested in Guam, and my bill clears the way for this exciting economic opportunity to come to our island,” continued Bordallo.