In response to a recently approved anti-offshore-wind amendment in the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, Liz Burdock, executive director of the Business Network for Offshore Wind, believes the measure is “highly unlikely” to be signed into law with the bill.
Last week, the House Appropriations Committee approved the budget bill for fiscal year 2018, which included an amendment from U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md. The amendment, citing “viewscape” concerns, “blocks the use of federal funds to conduct reviews of site assessment or construction and operation plans” for wind projects situated fewer than 24 nautical miles from Maryland’s shore.
Writing for the Business Network for Offshore Wind, Burdock says the amendment, which “was not a surprise,” explains that the measure was not motivated by the Trump administration; rather, it was “a local effort possibly spearheaded by Ocean City, Md., to eliminate the view of red blinking lights from the shore and alleviate their concerns over decreasing tourism and property values.”
Calling the House Appropriations Committee approval “a first and early step in a very long legislative process,” Burdock notes that Democrats “have more sway over the appropriations process in the Senate” and that Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., who is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, “would oppose it and lead a group of bipartisan senators to remove the language.”
Burdock’s full editorial can be found here.