Moving Forward on Renewable, Low-Carbon Energy from America's Oceans

April 24, 2007


Katharine Burnham, Environmental Defense, 202-572-3335

(Washington, DC- April 24, 2007) Today the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans, and Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a joint oversight hearing on “Renewable Energy Opportunities and Issues on the Outer Continental Shelf.” The following statement may be attributed to Douglas Rader, Ph.D., Principal Scientist for Oceans and Estuaries at Environmental Defense:

“Meeting America’s energy needs while addressing the global warming challenge will require a new age of energy conservation and the tapping of sustainable options for eco-friendly energy production. It is very likely that the sea will be part of the ‘greening’ or in this case ‘bluing’ of our energy production portfolio.

“However, ocean sources like wind, tide, wave and current energy may only become a positive energy alternative if we adhere to certain fundamental principles:

  • Ocean energy development should be based on clearly defined criteria and consistent with a national policy of protecting and restoring healthy ocean ecosystems, including cumulative impacts;
  • The public should benefit from the use of public resources, and appropriate incentives should be in place to encourage green energy development; decision processes should encourage public engagement, and meet the highest standards of transparency;
  • The federal government should support the research needed to develop cutting-edge “green” technologies, to understand and mitigate their potential impacts and to accelerate technologies for sustainable oceans; and
  • The federal government should invest in the science needed to manage marine ecosystems effectively; government decisions should be based on the best peer-reviewed science.

“The potential benefits of ocean energy to curb global warming should be analyzed against the potential risks of harming the ocean environment. Getting the management right is a critical first step in achieving ‘blue’ energy alternatives.”