In August of 2020, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards created the Climate Initiatives Task Force to ‘develop policies to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving up global temperatures, increasing sea level and other risks that threaten our health and safety, quality of life, economic growth, and vital habitats and ecosystems’ and charged the Task Force with making recommendations to reduce that state’s greenhouse emissions to net zero by 2050. Louisiana’s first Climate Action Plan was approved on January 31, 2022. Included in the plan was offshore wind energy production in the Gulf of Mexico.
These plans fit into the nation’s larger goals to generate 30 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2030. Last year, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) finalized the first two Wind Energy Areas (WEA) for offshore wind development in the Gulf of Mexico, located off the coasts of Galveston, TX and Lake Charles, LA.
LWF has been paying attention to the issue and discussing environmental concerns related to this activity, with particular focus on migratory birds.
In February 2023, LWF’s board of directors passed a resolution related to this emerging industry in Gulf of Mexico waters.
Louisiana is still years away from having turbines in the water, but it’s important to be involved early in the process to ensure that wind projects are sited, developed, operated, and decommissioned responsibly. The following timeline shows BOEM’s leasing process from the initial call to a final auction:
On February 24, 2023, BOEM published a Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) in the Federal Register. The PSN described proposed areas that could be available for leasing, proposed conditions and stipulations of a lease, bidding credits that could be available to qualified bidders, proposed auction format and procedures, and the process for issuing a lease.
LWF signed on to a comment letter with other organizations and submitted those comments to BOEM as part of the public comment period for the Proposed Sale Notice for leasing wind energy projects in the Gulf of Mexico. You can read those comments here.
That’s why LWF’s board of directors have approved a resolution urging that plans for all phases of offshore wind energy development in the Gulf of Mexico are done so responsibly by following the mitigation hierarchy to first avoid, then minimize and mitigate impacts from development. Additionally, this development should be guided by the best available scientific and technological data and remain adaptable as additional knowledge becomes available.
While LWF recognizes the use of offshore wind to meet the state and the nation’s emissions reduction goals, LWF insists on strict standards, parameters, and barriers to entry for developers to meet these standards. Just as importantly, LWF also urges the development of this industry include meaningful engagement with state and local governments and stakeholders from the outset.
You can read LWF’s resolution here.
Learn more about the Louisiana’s Climate Initiatives Task Force.
Learn more about BOEM’s Intergovernmental Agency Task Force.