Senate Energy Committee Holds Hearing to Examine Offshore Energy Development

May 24, 2021

by ASME.org

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee recently held a hearing to examine offshore energy development in federal waters, including wind, oil, and gas. The hearing comes quickly after the Biden administration cleared the path for a major offshore windfarm to be developed off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, MA. Committee Chairman Joe Manchin (D-WV) opened the hearing by stating that his goal is to “set a baseline from which the Committee can work to make sure we strike the right balance between American energy security and independence, environmental stewardship, and ensuring fair returns to taxpayers from our shared resources.”
 
Four witnesses appeared at the hearing:
  • Ms. Amanda Lefton, Director, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, U.S. Department of the Interior
  • The Honorable John Bel Edwards, Governor, State of Louisiana
  • Captain Russell Holmes, Director, The Center for Offshore Safety
  • Mr. Michael J. Minarovic, Chief Executive Officer, Arena Energy 
Lefton spoke on behalf of the Biden Administration, beginning by referencing the newly approved 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind energy project, which works towards the administration’s goal of generating 30 gigawatts of energy from offshore wind by 2030. She went on to discuss the administration’s plans for marine minerals such as sand and gravel and the federal government’s role in leasing these resources. She also touched on the administration’s stance on oil and gas energy generation, highlighting its commitment to restore “the balance on America’s public lands and waters to benefit current and future generations.” Lefton also referenced Executive Order 13990, “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis,” under which the administration pledges to be “guided by the best science and must ensure the integrity of Federal decision-making.”
 
The Honorable John Bel Edwards, Governor of Louisiana, spoke specifically from the point of view of states that are directly impacted by federal oil and gas production policies, urging “Congress and the Biden Administration to pursue a responsible and balanced approach to adapting to the impacts of climate change while still pursuing safe and responsible oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico.” The Governor encouraged wind energy production in offshore waters and shared his support for expanding federal impact assistance for costal restoration and climate adaption, noting that offshore wind energy will impact not only states where the windfarms are located, but adjacent states as well, who should also receive impact assistance from the federal government.
 
To view the full recording of the hearing, please visit: https://www.energy.senate.gov/hearings/2021/5/full-committee-hearing-to-examine-offshore-energy-development.

You are now leaving ASME.org