Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Monday that
the waters off the Atlantic coast hold some of the country's greatest
wind energy potential, and he promised to move aggressively to
develop plans to exploit this abundant resource.
an interview with The Associated Press, Salazar called for the
creation of "renewable energy zones" to smooth development
of offshore wind projects.
scientists tell me that when you look at the wind energy potential
off the Atlantic it may be greater than we have onshore,"
Salazar said. "But what we don't have in place at this point are
the rules to move forward with renewable energy offshore."
said that states like New Jersey and Delaware are "raring to go"
with wind energy projects. But he acknowledged that officials in
other coastal states, such as Massachusetts, are divided.
$1 billion project to erect 130 giant wind turbines off Cape Cod has
long been opposed by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., who has argued
it would kill birds, endanger sea life and imperil the area's tourism
and fishing industries. The state's Democratic governor, Deval
Patrick, supports it, as does most of the public.
on Monday said the project "makes sense." "From what I
know of the Cape Cod wind project it is a good project," he
standoff in Massachusetts could play out across the country as
Salazar seeks to expand renewable electricity production and the
transmission lines to carry it on public lands. Both are needed, he
said, to curb the nation's dependence on foreign oil and deal with
the heat-trapping emissions from the burning of fossil fuels that are
linked to global warming.
asked about opposition, Salazar said it was imperative that "we
get this thing done and not get stuck in a not-in-my-backyard
syndrome." He also said it is a "false choice" to pit
aggressive development of renewable energy against the protection of
the country's wildlife and treasured landscapes.