March 15 -- The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is calling on the Biden Administration to halt all permitting and scoping for offshore wind projects until a comprehensive procedure to protect tribal interests is in place.
NCAI adopted this week a resolution that “strongly urges the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to halt all scoping and permitting for offshore wind projects until completion of a comprehensive and transparent procedure adequately protecting tribal environmental and sovereign interests is developed and implemented.”
Native Americans also demand that Tribal Nations be included in the management, permitting, and development of power purchase agreements and both consulted and included in determining the terms and conditions of the agreements.
This should also include “negotiating fair compensation for the use of their lands and resources, inclusion in any revenues associated with such development of their traditional resources as well as ensuring that the development does not harm their environment or cultural heritage,” NCAI said in its resolution.
Offshore wind is one of the key pillars of the Biden Administration to reach a goal the United States set in 2021—to reach 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035.
Earlier this week, the White House said that the Administration will propose the first-ever Gulf of Mexico offshore wind lease sale as part of additional steps to boost the sector. The proposed sale includes a 102,480-acre area offshore Lake Charles, Louisiana, and two areas offshore Galveston, Texas, one comprising 102,480 acres and the other comprising 96,786 acres, the Department of the Interior said on Wednesday.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is now seeking public comments on which, if any, of the two lease areas offshore Galveston should be offered in the Final Sale Notice. These areas have the potential to power almost 1.3 million homes with clean energy, the Department of the Interior said.