275+ Groups to Obama: Keep Leading on Offshore Wind

New York has incredible potential for offshore wind, and the opportunity to develop an offshore industry that can drive down costs.

New York, NY- Offshore wind for New York is closer to reality than it's ever been before, said environmentalists, public health advocates, and faith leaders today. The groups joined together on a national letter to President Obama and his officials, urging them to continue their leadership in developing wind power off the Atlantic Coast.

"New York's offshore wind resources are well-documented, and tapping into them will help to address the impacts of our changing climate, move us away from dirty fossil fuels of the past, and ensure that kids and seniors breathe cleaner air. A partnership with Governor Cuomo to allow the state to finally move forward on offshore wind is ideal for the Obama administration to build on the President's climate legacy," said Peter Iwanowicz, Executive Director of Environmental Advocates of New York.

New York has incredible potential for offshore wind, and the opportunity to develop an offshore industry that can drive down costs. New York City's recent commitment to purchase renewable energy could boost the offshore wind industry in the state.

"Harvesting the vast offshore wind energy resource we have right here off our Atlantic shores will allow us to meet a large portion of our energy needs without polluting the air and contributing further to climate change", said Gordian Raacke, executive director of Renewable Energy Long Island. "As an added bonus, offshore wind turbines will generate much needed electricity during times of greatest demand in the Long Island and New York metro region during hot summer afternoons and evenings."

Momentum is building for offshore wind in the U.S. This summer, construction began at the nation's first offshore wind farm off the Rhode Island coast, near Block Island. At the same time, the Obama administration has awarded nine commercial wind leases totaling over 700,000 acres in federal waters up and down the Atlantic Coast, with more leases on the horizon. The White House also recently announced a multi-state project with New York, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island that will lay important groundwork for offshore wind along the Atlantic coast.

The year so far has "marked a major milestone in America's pursuit of offshore wind power, with our first project finally under construction off the coast of Rhode Island," said the letter. "We are counting on your leadership to ensure that [the Block Island offshore wind farm] is truly the beginning of a new energy chapter for America."

"America can move towards a clean energy future in which offshore wind plays a major role and New York can be an important leader" said Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment New York. "The Obama Administration, along with Governor Cuomo, can ensure that we reach the next clean energy frontier by showing strong leadership in support of offshore wind."

The letter lauded the Clean Power Plan, for which state leaders are eagerly developing a compliance plan, "additional leadership is needed to maintain momentum and ensure that offshore wind power plays a major role in states' plans to reduce pollution and shift to clean energy."

"Offshore wind is the next frontier in clean energy, and New York is clearly the place for offshore to happen, with lots of electricity demand close to shore," said Anne Reynolds, Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York. "The offshore wind industry is ready to invest, but making it happen requires the active cooperation of the State and federal agencies to create demand and get offshore wind leases in place. We are really optimistic that this cooperation is happening."

In addition to leadership from President Obama, environmental groups also urged Governor Cuomo to set a bold goal for offshore wind off the coast of New York.

"Climate change is already having profound impacts on New York's wildlife and their habitats," said Catherine Bowes, Senior Manager, Climate & Energy with National Wildlife Federation, another of the letter's signers. "Responsibly developed offshore wind power can and must play a major role in ensuring a clean and reliable energy future for America, and we call on Governor Cuomo to commit to bringing this transformational power source online."

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