Could Trump’s latest extension of leasing moratorium to North Carolina threaten offshore wind?

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Extension of Atlantic leasing moratorium follows earlier extension to Florida’s Atlantic Coast, as well as the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina.

In a memorandum to the Secretary of the Interior on September 25, President Donald Trump further extended the 10 year Atlantic area offshore leasing moratorium to include offshore North Carolina.

You can access the memorandum HERE, and it bears close examination because the National Ocean Industry Association is warning that the announcement “casts tremendous uncertainty on the outlook for wind offshore North Carolina.”

Following is the text of a statement from National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) President Erik Milito:

“Americans are trying to climb back from a historic economic downturn, and today’s announcement places additional offshore energy development out of reach and locks away much needed investment and jobs. An offshore moratorium that stretches from the Eastern Gulf of Mexico to the top of North Carolina’s offshore areas needlessly jeopardizes our nation’s long-term economic and national security. Time and time again, we have seen how domestic energy moratoriums only lead to outsourcing of energy production and economic growth as countries such as Russia happily wait in the wings to make up our domestic energy supply gap.

“The announcement also casts tremendous uncertainty on the outlook for wind offshore North Carolina. A recent Wood Mackenzie report indicates that a prospective 2020 or 2021 wind lease sale offshore the Carolinas could support 37,000 jobs and $3 billion in wages annually, more than $44.9 billion in total capital investment and 11.5 GW of electricity. Without a clear and stable regulatory horizon, interest and investment in developing offshore wind resources will be diminished.”

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