With critical federal tax incentives set to expire on December 31, over 10 legislators, including both Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R-21), faith leaders and renewable energy coalitions joined Environment New Jersey, the National Wildlife Federation and over 230 other organizations and elected officials Wednesday to urge the Obama administration to take swift, bold action to facilitate the development of offshore wind power, such as the proposed Fishermens Energy pilot off-shore wind project off of Atlantic City that needs off-shore wind tax credits.
Organizations lauded offshore wind power as a promising alternative to America’s power plants, the largest single source of carbon pollution that scientist say is fueling global warming and more frequent and severe extreme weather events. Extreme weather’s impacts have hit close to home recently - Hurricane Sandy alone cost over $70 billion total in damages in addition to the immeasurable impact on lives lost, injuries, and livelihoods ruined across New Jersey.
“Hurricane Sandy is a tragic example of what climate change looks like. To avoid the worst impacts of global warming, we need to shift away from energy that threatens our climate with carbon,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. “Harnessing the wind that blows off our shores will be essential in facing the climate crisis.”
Supporters pointed to the clear benefits of offshore wind as reason for state and federal officials to support incentives critical for launching a new offshore wind industry in New Jersey and along the Atlantic Coast.
“Climate change is the single the biggest threat to America’s wildlife this century and properly-sited offshore wind power is an essential part of the solution,” said National Wildlife Federation’s Senior Energy & Climate Manager Catherine Bowes. “Our ability to fight climate change and repower America with pollution-free energy hinges on bold action from our federal and state leaders. Congress must renew the offshore wind investment tax credit (ITC) immediately to jumpstart this critical new clean energy source for America.”
In June, President Obama announced an historic Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon pollution. In addition to placing the first ever national limits on carbon pollution from power plants, the plan called for doubling the amount of renewable energy generated on federally controlled land and waters. Advocates pointed out that offshore wind power offers a critical opportunity to meet this goal and achieve our nation’s environmental and energy objectives.
America can create hundreds of thousands of jobs while powering our homes and businesses with local, clean energy, but only if our elected officials and regulators take the right steps now, according to a report released last year by the National Wildlife Federation, Environment America, and 45 partner organizations along the Atlantic Coast. The Turning Point for Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy: Time for Action to Create Jobs, Reduce Pollution, Protect Wildlife & Secure America’s Energy Future details the economic and environmental benefits of offshore wind energy, the progress made to-date, potential obstacles to that progress, and a prosperous path forward.
Environment New Jersey is a state-wide environmental advocacy group based in Trenton.