White House announces climate-focused offshore and port plans

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Source: Wikimedia Commons.
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The Biden administration announced new climate plans for offshore wind and port infrastructure development.

By Michael McGrady, Maritime Direct Americas & Pacific Correspondent

WASHINGTON — The United States government announced new plans for offshore wind and port infrastructure development.

“President Biden has declared very clearly that when he thinks of climate, he thinks of people and jobs—good-paying, union jobs,” said Gina McCarthy, President Joe Biden’s national climate advisor. “President Biden believes we have an enormous opportunity in front of us to not only address the threats of climate change, but use it as a chance to create millions of good-paying, union jobs that will fuel America’s economic recovery, rebuild the middle class, and make sure we bounce back from the crises we face.”

McCarthy added: “Nowhere is the scale of that opportunity clearer than for offshore wind. This commitment to a new, untapped industry will create pathways to the middle class for people from all backgrounds and communities.”

According to a press briefing from the White House, the Department of Transportation and the Maritime Administration (MARAD) announced a notice of funding opportunity for port authorities and other applicants to access up to $230 million for port and intermodal. MARAD notes port infrastructure development grants that strengthen and modernize port overall infrastructure.

This includes “support shore-side wind energy projects, such as storage areas, laydown areas, and docking of wind energy vessels to load and move items to offshore wind farms. In addition to supporting our nation’s long-term economic vitality, DOT’s review process will consider how proposed projects can most effectively address climate change and environmental justice imperatives.”

“Our nation’s ports are a key part of our critical infrastructure. They create jobs and make our economy more resilient and sustainable,” said Pete Buttigieg, Biden’s secretary of transportation. “This funding will build upon local investments in infrastructure to deliver long-term economic benefits to American workers and communities, while also addressing climate and equity.”

Under the Department of Energy, the programs being championed by the offshore wind industry expect to value $3 billion in funding. This would be delivered through the department Loan Programs Office and the Title XVII Innovative Energy Loan Guarantee Program.

“LPO is open for business and ready to partner with offshore wind and offshore transmission developers, suppliers, and other financing partners to scale the U.S. offshore industry and support well-paying jobs,” notes the department via the same White House statement.

The Department of Interior also manages the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which approves all offshore energy projects in the United States. A part of Biden’s program is also taking the next steps toward selling wind development rights in the New York Bight, a shallow stretch of the Atlantic between Long Island and New Jersey.

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