top of page
  • wind.letters

Trump Memorandum Can Potentially Stop Offshore Wind in Southern Atlantic States

Updated: Jul 3, 2021

A memorandum by the Trump Administration issued in September 2020 has the potential to stop offshore wind deployments in the Southern Atlantic states, and it can only be overwritten by congress. The moratorium was announced by Trump to his voters as a ban on oil and gas drilling after pressure from Florida Congressmen before the 2020 presidential elections. It affected voters in four critical states reaching from North Carolina down to Florida.

The memorandum was copied from an Obama moratorium on offshore drilling in certain offshore areas in Alaska to stop oil and gas drilling from 2015. Only that the Trump document distinctively deleted the terms “oil and gas drilling” and now instead stops exploration for any offshore energy production also including offshore wind turbines or tidal wave technology and such.

A memorandum issued by a President cannot be overwritten by the next administration, per a judge’s decision in 2019 (according to a New York Times story) when then President Trump unlawfully tried to cancel an Obama withdrawal from drilling in the Antarctic and Atlantic. But if Trump had won the election he could have revoked his own memorandum and continue his original pro-drilling agenda that promoted oil and gas drilling in all coastal states.

North Carolina’s governor Roy Cooper (Democrat) had originally asked the Trump administration to include North Carolina in the oil and drilling ban, only to learn later about the broader approach to include all ocean activities.

Original text: “This withdrawal prevents consideration of these areas for any leasing for purposes of exploration, development, or production during the 10-year period beginning on July 1, 2022, and ending on June 30, 2032.”

At the beginning of March Governor Cooper wrote a letter to the new BOEM director and asked for President Biden’s administration to “take all available actions to remove the moratorium” and to “promptly proceed with activities needed to lease” the two current Wind Energy Areas off the coast of North Carolina by July 2022. NC is the only one of the four states with activities to deploy wind turbines in the ocean.

President Biden had already put a hold on all U.S. oil and gas drilling leases per executive order when he ordered an “Immediate Review of Agency Actions” taken while former President Trump was in office.

Governor Cooper's office in the meantime counters the potential stop with some optimism: “If anything, the memorandum spurred renewed interest in quickly leasing North Carolina’s existing Wilmington East and Wilmington West WEAs in advance of the July 1, 2022 moratorium.”

[update] Congressman Paul Tonko (NY-20) introduced mid-April H.R. 2635 also called "Restoring Offshore Wind Opportunities Act" to the House, a bill that would limit the 10-year Trump-moratorium only to offshore oil and gas drilling but allow offshore wind opportunities in the outer continental shelf.

NREL identified all feasible wind energy areas on the coast lines of the U.S. with a minimum of 7 m/s speed in 90 m turbine hight.

42 views0 comments
bottom of page