Posted on May 15, 2023
Offshore Wind Legislation Directs Revenues to Beach Nourishment and Coastal Protection | States impacted by offshore wind projects deserve a cut of the revenues derived from the sale of lease areas to offset impacts to the environment and local economies. The Save Limit Grow Act of 2023, HR.1, or the Debt Ceiling Bill, HR. 2811, both contain the same provisions relating to the revenues derived from the sale or lease of areas along the outer continental shelf for offshore wind. Last year BOEM brought in ov er $5 billion in revenue from offshore wind lease sales. Currently, those funds are deposited into the general treasury and are then divvyed up further into a variety of other conservation funds. Members of Congress are trying to bring home a piece of the pie for their constituents, with House Member Steven Scalise (R-LA 1) leading the House side. The House legislation would direct 50% of offshore wind revenue to impacted states and political subdivisions based on their geographic proximity to a wind farm, 37.5% to the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund, and 12.5% into the general treasury. A similar version proposed in the Senate in the 117th Congress, led by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), S. 2130, would direct 50% of revenues to the general treasury, 37.5% to states and political subdivisions and 12.5% to the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund. This will be one of the many things that will be worked out if this bill has any chance of passing the democratically controlled Senate.
From our coastal-focused perspective, there are far greater benefits to contributing revenues to the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund than to the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund, which is generally more of a sportsman’s fund for the conservation of important migratory bird habitat and in establishing or enhancing many of the country’s most popular destinations for waterfowl hunting and birding. The National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund invests in projects that restore or expand natural features such as coastal marshes and wetlands, dune and beach systems, oyster and coral reefs, forests, coastal rivers and floodplains, and barrier islands that minimize the impacts of coastal flooding on coastal communities.