Environmental Defense Fund Praises Obama Administration

March 18, 2009

(Washington, DC - March 18, 2009) Environmentally responsible development of ocean wave, tidal, and current energy got a boost yesterday when Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar announced at a hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that he and Jon Wellinghoff, the acting chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, had committed to settle a long-running jurisdictional dispute over the siting and licensing of ocean renewable energy.  Resolving this dispute is a key recommendation of the “Shared Vision and Call for Action” on ocean renewable energy that Environmental Defense Fund and a coalition of utilities, energy developers, environmentalists, academics and local governments presented to President Obama”s transition team in December.


“We are very pleased that the Administration heard our call, and we want to thank them for their leadership on this issue.  This is an important first step, and we look forward to working with the administration and Congress as the details are ironed out,” said Amanda Leland, National Policy Director of EDF”s Oceans Program.


The rapid maturation of ocean power technologies depends upon deployment of demonstration and commercial projects in nearshore areas in the United States, according to Jack Sterne of Rising Tide Strategies, a consultant who assembled and led the coalition for EDF.  “We stressed to the incoming administration that resolving this conflict would move a promising source of renewable energy forward, opening the door for it to be tested and planned for in a way that protects the marine environment and addresses the needs of current and future ocean users,” said Sterne.


EDF”s leadership and joint principles document was highlighted by Steve Kopf of Pacific Energy Ventures LLC in testimony at the hearing.  Kopf, a project developer and a key participant in the EDF process, said that the “principles clearly demonstrate a consensus to develop ocean renewable energy, but in a way that respects the environment and proactively plans for the growth of the industry” and noted that “the power of the coalition is that it unites a diverse group of stakeholders into a common vision of how we can do this right.”  He asked the committee to “adopt these principles as the framework for whatever action it takes” in this area.