Gov. Roy Cooper last week urged the new director of Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to head off former President Trump’s wind energy leasing moratorium set to take effect next year and “swiftly advance” leasing of existing wind energy areas off North Carolina’s coast.
Cooper, in his March 3 letter to BOEM Director Amanda Lefton, says that North Carolina needs more offshore wind energy projects and wind energy leasing areas to meet clean energy goals and spur the economy.
Citing a recent paper from the North Carolina Department of Commerce touting the state’s position to capitalize on the growing offshore wind energy industry, Cooper urges Lefton to take “all available actions” to remove former President Trump’s 10-year moratorium on new offshore wind leases off the North Carolina coast set to take effect July 1, 2022.
“Given the threat that the moratorium will prohibit additional offshore wind projects along our coast for a decade, I respectfully request that BOEM promptly proceed with activities needed to lease the Wilmington East and Wilmington West WEAs by July 1, 2022,” Cooper wrote, adding that activities include reconvening the renewable energy task force to review new research and proceed with lease sales.
Cooper also reiterated the appeal made by Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael Regan in a 2018 letter requesting that BOEM designate additional WEAs off the state coast. Regan awaits Senate confirmation as President Biden’s nominee as Environmental Protection Agency secretary. A vote on Regan’s confirmation is possible before Friday.