Puerto Rico congresswoman’s renewable energy proposal introduced in U.S. Senate
SAN JUAN – U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced companion legislation to Rep. Jenniffer González Colón’s (R-PR) bill to study the feasibility of establishing wind turbines in waters bordering Puerto Rico and the rest of the U.S. territories
The senators introduced .S.499, the Offshore Wind for Territories Act, which González introduced Feb. 6 along with Reps. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (I-Northern Marianas), Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-American Samoa), Darren Soto (D-Florida) and Stacey Plaskett (D-USVI) as cosponsors.
H.R. 1014 and S.499 seek amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to include the U.S. territories. If wind resources are determined viable, the bills provide that the Department of the Interior auction lease rights, where 37.5% of the qualifying revenue is allocated to the corresponding territory for environmental mitigation uses and that 12.5% reserved to protect coral reef.
“We must pursue every avenue to address high energy prices in the U.S. territories and reduce our heavy reliance on foreign petroleum imports. The Offshore Wind for Territories Act, which I recently introduced in the House, offers a sensible path to achieve this. Specifically, it corrects federal law to authorize the Department of the Interior to study the viability for offshore wind energy development in the Exclusive Economic Zone adjacent to each of the five territories,” González said in a release Tuesday,” González said.
The legislation is supported by the president of the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), Randall Luthi, who according to the release, said there is a longstanding need to strengthen the energy security of the U.S. territories and that the legislation will enable “U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico and Guam to develop their rich wind resources and power new jobs and economic growth” on the islands.
“This bill gives American citizens better access to electricity, boosts revenue for U.S. territories, and helps protect vulnerable coral reefs,” Cassidy, who is chairman of the Senate subcommittee on energy, is quoted as saying. “Louisiana benefits from offshore energy revenue sharing, which helps restore and maintain our coastlines. This bill gives U.S. territories the same opportunity and promotes renewable energy.”
“For decades, Hawaii relied on fossil fuel imports for our energy needs. In less than a decade, we have made significant progress towards our 100 percent clean energy target, all while lowering electricity rates and creating jobs. It is time to bring the clean energy future to the U.S. territories,” Schatz added in the congresswoman’s release.