This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

January 11, 2006

Interior Department Seeks Comments on Offshore Energy Projects

The U.S. Department of Interior's Mineral Management Service (MMS) is currently seeking comments on how it should regulate energy development other than oil and gas on the outer continental shelf (OCS). The Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorized MMS to grant leases, easements, or rights-of-way on the OCS for the development and support of energy from sources other than oil and gas and to allow for alternate uses of existing facilities on the OCS. MMS anticipates that the majority of the applications received for non-oil and gas development projects will be for renewable energy projects, specifically for offshore wind plants, solar installations, and ocean energy projects such as wave, ocean current, or ocean thermal energy systems. The Act also directed MMS to develop a comprehensive program and regulations to implement its new authority by mid-2006.

As the first step in the development of this regulatory program, MMS issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on December 30th, seeking comments on a variety of issues relating to its new authority. Comments are due by February 28th. On January 3rd, MMS also published several maps showing the extent of its offshore jurisdiction for each state. See the MMS press release, its Renewable Energy and Alternative Uses Web site, and its Federal OCS Administrative Boundaries Web page.