The US House of Representatives has passed an amendment to the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act that enforces Jones Act requirements for all offshore renewable energy production.
The amendment, introduced by Congressman John Garamendi, clarifies that the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, a 1953 law governing offshore mineral and energy development, applies to lease sales for non-fossil fuel energy sources such as wind power, hydrokinetic or ocean thermal energy conversion.
The Jones Act regulates maritime commerce in the US and requires goods shipped between US ports are transported on ships that are built, owned and operated by US citizens or permanent residents.
Garamendi said: “Offshore wind development will play a critical role in our nation’s transition to a clean energy economy.
“Demand for offshore wind development in federal waters is strong, and Congress must act to ensure this burgeoning industry abides by federal laws and regulations including the Jones Act so we have the strongest possible labor and environmental protections.
“My commonsense amendment simply clarifies that all existing requirements that govern offshore oil and natural gas extraction also apply to renewables.
“This will enable our domestic maritime industry to support the renewable energy industry and provide a critical economic stimulus for our nation.
“The Jones Act is the lifeblood for a US maritime trade that supports 650,000 jobs and almost $100bn in annual economic impact.
“Ensuring our nation’s offshore renewable energy investments are governed by the strongest labor protections, environmental requirements, and safety standards is commonsense.”
The amendment is cosponsored by Congressman Alan Lowenthal, chairman of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.