Sen. Angus King, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, released a discussion draft bill Thursday that aims to expand development of offshore wind. The Renewable Energy on Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act would codify a renewable energy leasing program on the Outer Continental Shelf similar to the current leasing program for oil and gas so that renewable offshore projects are not subjected to different standards than fossil fuel programs, according to a press release from the senator’s office.

Sen. Angus King

Long a proponent of offshore energy, King released the draft to receive public feedback from colleagues, industry experts and other stakeholders shortly after the Senate passed the largest ever investment in clean energy development.

“Offshore wind presents one of the most promising opportunities to grow America’s energy economy and protect our environment,” King said in a statement. “As the Inflation Reduction Act is poised to makes historic investments in renewable energy, it’s important federal red tape and ancient regulations don’t hinder the expansion of these game-changing technologies.”

King applauded the Senate’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes the largest ever investment in clean energy manufacturing and development.

King said the offshore wind program “creates a level playing field and gives renewables the same standing as oil and gas” and would also create jobs and address climate change issues.

The discussion draft of the Renewable Energy on Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act contains language that parallels that of the current OCSLA, which defines the terms of offshore oil and natural gas development. Although Congress amended OCSLA in 2005 to grant the Department of the Interior authority to manage renewable energy projects on federal offshore lands, the statute largely retains its original structure.

REOCSLA has not yet been introduced as a bill, but King hopes to do so this fall after receiving feedback on the discussion draft.

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