Washington, D.C. – Today, the House voted to pass H.R. 4502, the FY22 Appropriations Minibus, which includes Congresswoman Ross’ (NC-02) amendment to prohibit funds from being used to implement former President Trump’s 10-year moratorium on offshore wind energy leasing off the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, which is set to go into place in 2022. The amendment is included in the Interior-Environment division of the minibus, which takes significant steps to address the climate crisis. The bill increases funding to mitigate the changing climate; creates a Civilian Climate Corps; creates good-paying American jobs through investments in renewable energy development; makes investments to improve education; and expands environmental justice efforts.

“My home state of North Carolina leads the East Coast in offshore wind energy generation potential, and our manufacturing workforce stands ready to support offshore wind projects up and down the Atlantic coast,” said Congresswoman Ross.  “Unfortunately, former President Trump’s ill-conceived moratorium puts our state’s ability to develop this resource and capture its economic and environmental benefits at risk. I am thrilled the Interior minibus includes this amendment—it is essential in order to meet our state and national climate goals. By passing the appropriations package, we are combatting climate change and investing in our future.”

On Sept. 8, 2020, then-President Trump signed an order prohibiting leasing for offshore energy exploration, development, or production off the coasts of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. Shortly after, Trump added North Carolina to the moratorium, which affects both oil and gas leasing as well as leasing for renewable energy sources like offshore wind. This legislation would prevent funds from implementing the moratorium on offshore wind leasing but would leave in place the ban on offshore oil and gas leasing. In April, Representatives Ross and Tonko introduced the Restoring Offshore Wind Opportunities Act, legislation to overturn President Trump’s offshore wind energy leasing moratorium.

Earlier this year, Representatives Ross and David Rouzer (NC-07) led the North Carolina delegation in sending a letter to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Amanda Lefton expressing support for the Bureau’s efforts to promptly and responsibly advance lease sales of existing wind energy areas (WEAs) and identify new WEAs off the coast of North Carolina. The offshore wind industry is projected to invest nearly $140 billion in the U.S. by 2035 for the manufacturing, construction, and maintenance of offshore wind projects. In addition, the members asked the Biden administration to remove the offshore wind energy leasing moratorium.

The FY22 Appropriations package provides $15.6 billion for the Department of the Interior, in addition to $900 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which has protected conservation and recreation land in every state and supported tens of thousands of state and local projects.