Offshore wind power groups are stepping up pressure on Congress to undo an impending 10-year moratorium on offshore energy leasing off the Southeast states.

Almost forgotten from former president Donald Trump’s ill-fated re-election campaign, his executive order from fall 2020 suddenly reversed his pledge to open more U.S. continental shelf waters for energy leasing.

Seeking votes from Florida to the Carolinas – where seaside communities have seen offshore drilling as a threat to their coastal tourism and real estate industries – Trump shocked oil companies by announcing the moratorium. Wind developers even then saw as a potential threat.

Still scheduled to take effect July 1, the moratorium has focused the wind and offshore services industries, as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is now looking to lease wind energy areas off the Carolinas. The American Clean Power Association said it’s time to reverse the moratorium, and the National Ocean Industries Association has organized a coalition to press for a decision.

On Wenesday the Business Network for Offshore Wind joined in with a letter to House and Senate leaders requesting both chambers repeal the 10-year moratorium on offshore wind leading off the coasts of the Carolinas, Florida, and Georgia.

“Allowing a 10-year moratorium on offshore wind leasing off the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia would put those states at a severe disadvantage as this fast-growing industry continues to grow along U.S. coasts,” according to a statement from the network.

“Congress has the opportunity to repeal an order that hinders an entire region of the U.S. from participating in the economic development, climate resilience, and energy savings offered by offshore wind,” said John Begala, vice president of state and federal policy at the Business Network for Offshore Wind.

The letter calls on Congressional leaders to repeal the 10-year moratorium in the final, conferenced version of the Senate’s “The United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2022” and the House’s America “COMPETES Act” of 2022, an was cosigned by the American Clean Power Association, the National Association of Manufacturers , the Southeastern Wind Coalition, and The U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“We also call on Congress to facilitate even more leasing off the Southeast U.S. by acting now to repeal the 10-year moratorium on offshore wind leasing off the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida in the final, conferenced version of the Senate’s The United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2022 and the House’s America COMPETES Act of 2022,” said Josh Kaplowitz, the Clean Power Association’s vice president for offshore wind.

“If the moratorium is allowed to take effect on July 1, it would severely constrain the anticipated economic and environmental benefits of offshore wind in the Southeast and beyond.”

Associate Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for more than 30 years and a 25-year field editor for National Fisherman before joining our Commercial Marine editorial staff in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.

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