Flocking to Clean Energy: Conservationists Unite Behind Offshore Wind

from Wildlife Promise

Wind turbines off Blyth, UK (Flickr’s Zabdiel

Hundreds of conservation and public health groups, Atlantic coast elected officials and businesses are joining together to send a loud and clear message to the Obama administration: We’re united behind wildlife-friendly offshore wind energy.

The coalition sent a letter to President Obama today with more than 200 signers, including the National Wildlife Federation, Environment America, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and dozens of other groups representing millions of Americans. It calls for continued federal leadership to move away from fossil fuels and applauds administration efforts over the last year, specifically the Interior Department’s “Smart from the Start” initiative. The program has designated appropriate areas for wind development in federal waters off the coast of six Atlantic states—Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.

What is the coalition specifically asking the Obama administration to do?

  • Support federal financial investments to spur offshore wind development;
  • Set a bold goal for offshore wind in the Atlantic;
  • Ensure that offshore wind projects are sited, constructed and operated responsibly;
  • Provide DOI and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management with sufficient staff and resources, and
  • Prioritize coordination to secure a market for offshore wind power.

Some people have a misperception that you have to choose between offshore wind energy and thriving wildlife populations. Much of that is due to a misinformation campaign funded in large part by William Koch, one of the billionaire polluting Koch brothers who’s fighting clean energy just because he doesn’t want to see it off his Cape Cod estate. The truth is that America urgently needs to clean up our electricity grid if we are to protect wildlife from the dangers of climate change. Experiences in Europe show us that offshore wind energy can be ramped up rapidly, economically, and an in a way that protects our wildlife and natural resources.

The federal government is making wildlife protection a top priority as it moves forward with offshore wind energy siting, leasing and development. From today’s Washington Post report on the planned auction to Atlantic Ocean offshore wind farm developers:

Before opening offshore plots to wind farms — the total area is more than 1.5 million acres — the government is spending millions to study the distribution and behavior of such federally protected migratory species as red knots, roseate terns and piping plovers, as well as of diving birds, which forage on the continental shelf.

Conservationists of all political stripes are united behind offshore wind as a winner for America’s wildlife, public health and economy,” says Catherine Bowes, the National Wildlife Federation’s senior manager for new energy solutions. “Clean energy solutions are critical to protecting our wildlife, fish and natural resources for future generations of outdoor enthusiasts.”

Take Action

Tell the Obama administration you support properly sited and developed offshore wind energy to protect wildlife. Please take a moment to email the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management urging them to bring clean wind energy to states along the Atlantic coast.