Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Deborah Ross (NC-02) announced that she received a letter from Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Amanda Lefton, in response to the April 8th letter she led expressing support for efforts to promptly and responsibly advance lease sales of existing wind energy areas (WEAs) off the coast of North Carolina.

Ross’s letter, signed by a bipartisan group of 6 other Members of the North Carolina congressional delegation, specifically urged BOEM to take swift action to hold lease sales for two of the state’s existing WEAs—Wilmington East and Wilmington West—so that lease agreements can be executed in advance of a Trump-era moratorium on offshore wind energy leasing that is set to take effect on July 1, 2022. The letter also requested that BOEM identify new WEAs off the state’s coast and requested that the Biden administration take all available measures to remove the impending decade-long moratorium on offshore wind leasing.

BOEM Director Lefton’s response read in part: “Recognizing the interest in wind leasing offshore North Carolina, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is currently undertaking activities to move forward with a wind lease sale offshore North Carolina. The Biden administration is also working diligently to address the previous administration’s moratoria on all offshore energy development in portions of the Atlantic. We are committed to continuing the process for facilitating the development of wind projects offshore the United States.”

“I am encouraged by this response from BOEM and look forward to learning more about plans for moving forward with an offshore wind lease sale off our state’s coast,” said Congresswoman Ross. “North Carolina is poised to be a leader in both offshore wind energy generation and manufacturing, and I will continue to work in a bipartisan way to make this happen.

“I am also encouraged to know that the Biden administration is working to address Former President Trump’s 10-year moratorium on offshore wind leasing. This ill-conceived moratorium will put our state’s ability to develop this resource and capture its economic and environmental benefits at risk. I stand ready to work with Director Lefton and the Biden administration to support their efforts.”

Offshore wind is projected to be a $140 billion industry in the United States by 2035, and North Carolina leads all other East Coast states in both offshore wind energy generation capacity potential and manufacturing workforce potential.

Ross has already led efforts to develop clean offshore wind energy off the coast of North Carolina. Last month, she joined Congressman Paul Tonko (NY-20) to introduce a bill to reverse the Trump-era ban on offshore wind leasing that is set to take effect in 2022. Earlier this month, she joined House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (NJ-06) to introduce a bill that would permanently ban offshore oil and gas development on the Atlantic outer continental shelf. Ross’ April 8th letter to BOEM can be read here, and BOEM’s response can be read here.