Offshore Wind Letter to President Obama

Last updated: 7/24/2012

July 24, 2012

Dear President Obama:

As environmentalists, conservationists, clean energy advocates, and local and state officials representing hundreds of thousands of members and activists along the Atlantic coast, we urge you to continue to champion the swift development of our offshore wind energy resources. We are encouraged by the Administration’s efforts to date to advance offshore wind development in the Atlantic Ocean in an environmentally responsible manner. For the sake of our environment and the prospects of a vibrant clean energy economy in America, we must have numerous wind farms spinning off our shores within the next few years – and we need your continued leadership to make that vision a reality.

Federal leadership is critically needed to spur a transition away from fossil fuels that threaten our environment, public health, and national security. Vast, untapped offshore wind energy resources along the Atlantic coast can play an increasingly important role in powering our homes, businesses, and vehicles while reducing pollution, creating good-paying jobs, and moving our states and our nation toward energy independence.  

As Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Salazar has repeatedly said, the immense energy generation potential of the Atlantic Ocean exceeds the amount of energy we produce every year in this country. Along the Atlantic coast alone, reaching the Department of Energy’s (DOE) conservative goal of 54 gigawatts of offshore wind power would reduce carbon pollution by the equivalent of taking roughly 18 million cars off the road.  For nearly every Atlantic coast state, offshore wind represents one of our best strategies to generate significant amounts of energy without creating more pollution. We can no longer afford to ignore this massive domestic energy source that has been producing thousands of jobs and megawatts of clean energy in Europe for over a decade.

Over the past year, many important steps have been taken to harness America’s offshore wind resources. With DOI’s “Smart from the Start” initiative, appropriate areas for wind development have been identified in federal waters off the coast of six Atlantic states – Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia. Additionally, DOI is beginning this process for North Carolina and South Carolina and is reviewing applications for a utility-scale project in federal waters off New York and a demonstration project in Maine. DOI must continue to move this process forward swiftly and efficiently so that industry can begin assessing potential development sites and collecting the data needed to design construction and operations plans for offshore wind energy projects.

We are calling on you and state leaders to work in partnership to build on this momentum and continue to prioritize the orderly, environmentally sound development of our offshore wind energy resources. It is critical that leases be granted to developers by the end of this year and actions be taken at the federal, regional, or state levels to secure necessary public or private power purchase commitments. 

Specifically, we ask the Obama Administration to:

  • Support federal financial investments to spur offshore wind development until this new technology is mature and well established. Offshore wind energy needs a long-term extension of its Investment Tax Credit, continued DOE support for research and development, and investments in data collection for better permitting.
  • Set a bold goal for offshore wind development in the Atlantic, in order to provide clear leadership and vision regarding the important role of offshore wind in America’s energy future and demonstrate that this is a high priority for the Administration.
  • Ensure that offshore wind projects are sited, constructed and operated responsibly in order to avoid, minimize, and mitigate conflict with local marine life and other uses. Wind energy development should be coordinated with state and regional coastal and marine spatial planning efforts and be done in a manner that is consistent with the goals of your historic National Ocean Policy. Permitting must also take into account the benefits to the environment from the proposed project.
  • Provide DOI and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management with sufficient staff and resources to manage the learning curve required to handle multiple renewable energy leases along the coast, in order to prevent disruption of current efforts to promote an efficient leasing process, and avoid subsequent impairment of needed financing and power off-take agreements.
  • Prioritize coordination to secure a market for offshore wind power, including convening coordination among the U.S. Departments of Defense, Energy, and Commerce and state and regional economic development, energy, and commerce agencies to identify incentives and develop commitments to purchase offshore wind power. 

We stand ready to work with you and your Administration to advance offshore wind and help put America on a path to a truly clean energy future. Thank you for your support and leadership.



Environment America

National Wildlife Federation

Southern Environmental Law Center

Conservation Law Foundation

Natural Resources Defense Council


Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Chesapeake Climate Action Network

Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition

Earth Day Network

US Offshore Wind Collaborative

Environment Northeast

Offshore Wind Development Coalition

The Sierra Club

Clean Energy States Alliance


Citizen Partnerships for Offshore Wind

Appalachian Voices

Atlantic Wind Connection

Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light

League of Conservation Voters

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Deepwater Wind

Apex Offshore Wind, LLC



Environment Maine

Natural Resources Council of Maine

Dr. Habib J. Dagher, Director, Advanced Structures and Composites Center,

            University of Maine

New Hampshire

Environment New Hampshire



Environment Massachusetts

Mass Audubon

Environmental League of Massachusetts

Mass Climate Action Network


Health Care Without Harm Boston

Cape Wind


Rhode Island

Environment Rhode Island

Rhode Island Chapter of the Sierra Club

Clean Water Action of Rhode Island

Rhode Island Surf Rider

Environment Council of Rhode Island

Apeiron Institute for Sustainable Living

People’s Power and Light Rhode Island

Senator William Walaska, Deputy Majority Whip (D – District 30)

Senator David Bates, Minority Whip (R – District 32)

Representative John Edwards, Deputy Majority Leader (D – District 70)

Representative Arthur Handy, Chair of House Environment & Natural Resources Committee

            (D – District 18)

Representative Teresa Tanzi (D – District 34)

Senator Louis DiPalma (D – District 12)

Senator Joshua Miller (D - District 28)



Environment Connecticut

Connecticut Forest and Park Association

Clean Water Action of CT

CT Chapter of the Sierra Club

CT Marine Trades Association

Senator Paul Doyle, Majority Whip (D – District 9)

Senator Edward Meyer, Assistant Majority Leader & Chair of Environment Committee

            (D – District 12)

Senator Gary LeBeau, Deputy President Pro Tempore (D – District 3)

Representative Richard Roy (D – District 119)

Mayor John DeStefano (D - New Haven, CT)


New York

Environment New York

Environmental Advocates of New York

The Oblong Land Conservancy

Renewable Energy Long Island

WESPAC Foundation

The Croton Watershed Clean Water Coalition

Chenango Clean Energy Service Corps

Citizens’ Environmental Coalition

Citizens Campaign for the Environment

NY League of Conservation Voters

Alliance for Clean Energy New York

New York Interfaith Power and Light

Sustainable Tompkins

Solar One

Mercury Poisoning Project

NYU Global Greening Initiative

Arthur H. Kopelman, Ph. D., SUNY Distinguished Service Professor and Professor of Science, FIT             Department of Science and Mathematics

Stephen O. Wilson, former Executive Director, now Emeritus Hudson River Environmental             Society

Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs, Assistant Speaker (D – District 42)

Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera (D – District 80)

Assemblyman Alan Maisel (D – District 59)

Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal (D - District 67)

Councilwoman Letitia James (D – New York City)


New Jersey

Environment New Jersey


New Jersey Citizen Action

New Jersey Business Council for Clean Energy

New Jersey Work Environment Council

New Jersey Conservation Foundation

Raritan Headwaters Association

Genesis Farm

Grandmothers Mothers and More for Energy Safety

Delaware Riverkeeper Network

ClimateMama, NJ

New Jersey Environmental Federation

NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club

Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissioners

NJ Environmental Lobby

Blue Wave NJ

Senator Loretta Weinberg, Senate Majority Leader (D – District 37)

Senator Linda Greenstein, Assistant Majority Leader & Environment and Energy Committee             Vice-Chair (D – District 14)

Assemblyman Thomas Giblin, Deputy Majority Leader (D- District 34)

Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, Deputy Speaker (D – District 38)

Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, Deputy Speaker (D – District 17)

Assemblyman Peter Barnes, Majority Whip (D – District 18)

Assemblyman Ruben Ramos, Deputy Majority Whip (D – District 33)

Senator Bob Smith, Environment and Energy Committee Chair (D – District 17)

Assemblywoman Marlene Caride (D- District 36)

Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D – District 27)

Deputy Mayor Scott Olson (Byram Township)

Assemblyman Daniel Benson (D – District 14)

Gray Russel, Office of Environmental Affairs – Environmental Coordinator

            (Township of Montclair)



Delaware Nature Society

DE Chapter of the Sierra Club

Representative John Kowalko, Chair House Energy Committee (D – District 25)



Environment Maryland

Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry for Maryland

League of Women Voters of Maryland

Assateague Coastal Trust/COASTKEEPER

Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club

Chesapeake Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility

Queen Anne’s Conservation Association

Food and Water Watch

Friends of Harford

Maryland League of Conservation Voters

Montgomery Countryside Alliance

Friends of the Nanticoke River

Center for a Livable Future at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Home Energy Loss Professionals

Amicus Green Building Center, LLC

Aqua Well Drilling, LLC

Ecobeco, LLC

National Aquarium

Green Homes Blue Sky, LLC

Brennan + Company Architects

Councilman George Leventhal (D – Montgomery County)



Environment Virginia

Virginia Conservation Network

Virginia Interfaith Power and Light

Virginia League of Conservation Voters

Coalition for Smarter Growth

Association of Energy Conservation Professionals

Wild Virginia

Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League

Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club

Congressman Jim Moran (D – District 8)

Senator Thomas Norment, Majority Leader (R – District 3)

Delegate David Toscano, Minority Leader (D – District 57)

Delegate Mark Sickles, Minority Caucus Chairman (D- District 43)

Delegate David Englin, Vice Chair Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee                (D – District 45)

Delegate Robert Brink (D – District 48)

Delegate Scott Surovell (D – District 44)

Senator Janet Howell (D – District 32)

Delegate Ken Plum (D – District 36)

Delegate Vivian Watts (D – District 39)

Delegate Luke Torian (D – District 52)

Delegate David Bulova (D – District 37)

Councilmember Rob Krupicka (D - City of Alexandria)


North Carolina

Environment North Carolina

NC Wildlife Federation

NC Interfaith Power and Light

North Carolina Conservation Network

North Carolina League of Conservation Voters

Clean Air Carolina

North Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club

Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce

Beach Home Inspections

Windward Homes

Island Thyme Cooking Co

With a Twist Inc

Whalebone Surf Shop

Brilliant Weddings and Design

BN Design

OneBoat Outer Banks and Cameron House Inn

brynn&amie Good Karma Foods

Aussie Island Surf Shop

Ashtanga Yoga

Transition Carrboro/Chapel Hill

17th St Surf Shop

Coastal Edge

Beach Music and PA

Outer Banks Brewing Station

Representative Rick Glazier, Minority Whip  (D – District 45)

Representative Patsy Keever (D – District 115)

Representative Susan Fisher (D – District 114)

Representative Charles Graham (D – District 47)

Representative Jennifer Weiss (D – District 35)

Representative Rodney Moore (D – District 99)

Representative Martha Alexander (D – District 106)

Representative Pricey Harrison (D – District 57)

Representative Angela Bryant (D – District 7)

Representative Alma Adams (D – District 58)

Representative Phillip Haire (D – District 119)

Representative Marvin Lucas (D – District 42)

Representative Marian McLawhorn (District 9)

Representative Tricia Cotham (D – District 100)

Representative Susi Hamilton (D – District 18)

Representative Maggie Jeffus (D – District 59)

Mayor David Cignotti (Wrightsville Beach)

City Councilman Kevin O'Grady (Wilmington)


South Carolina

SC Wildlife Federation

SC Coastal Conservation League



Environment Georgia

Center for a Sustainable Coast

Ogeechee Riverkeeper

Coastal Chapter of the Georgia Sierra Club

Councilman Paul Wolff  (Tybee Island)



Environment Florida

Florida Wildlife Federation

Sunshine State IPL

Florida Conservation Alliance



Cahaba Riverkeeper

Greater Birmingham Alliance to Stop Pollution



Citizens' Greener Evanston

Environment Illinois



Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future




Vermont Natural Resources Council


Cc: Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar

Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu

NOAA Administrator, Jane Lubchenco

FERC chairman, Jon Wellinghoff

EPA Administrator, Lisa P. Jackson

BOEM Director, Tommy Beaudreau

Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta

Acting Secretary of Commerce, Rebecca Blank