Oregon Shores Board Position on Renewable Ocean Energy
|Adopted by Oregon Shores board June 2010. |
Problem statement:Oregon Shores recognizes that climate change is occurring and is caused largely by human use of carbon-based energy resources, and that the negative impacts to coastal marine ecosystems and communities will, as a result, become increasingly more significant in the decades to come. Oregon Shores believes in ďthe fierce urgency of nowĒ and advocates for immediate responsible action by federal, state and local governments, as well as by individuals, to reduce carbon emissions with emphasis on conservation and efficiency measures, significantly investing in development of new renewable energy sources and technologies, and curtailing investment in development of new carbon-based energy resources and facilities.
Ocean Renewable Energy Policy: Oregon Shores supports effort to consider and responsibly test new ocean renewable energy technologies to help the state of Oregon, and the nation, move energy production away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy sources. Oregon Shores recognizes that offshore wave and wind resources hold significant potential for energy production, and that new ocean renewable energy development projects will necessarily involve testing of rapidly evolving and very diverse technologies, some of which are currently being advanced as a possible part of Oregonís future.
Therefore, as renewable ocean energy development is being considered and tested along Oregonís coast, Oregon Shores will be guided in its own actions, and its response to the actions of the state of Oregon, the nation and ocean energy developers, by the following principles:
1. Best Available Science - Oregon Shores believes that the best available science must be used to understand the possible ecological effects of renewable ocean energy development. The study of ecological effects should be advanced at the same pace, and given the same level of priority, as investment in the technological aspects of the new industry. Oregon Shores believe that monitoring and research must be used to reduce impacts and achieve the least environmentally intrusive design for renewable ocean energy technologies.
2. Oregonís Authority - Oregonís authority over renewable ocean energy development must be preserved. Oregon Shores opposes preemption by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and considers the Oregon Territorial Sea Plan (TSP) as Oregonís comprehensive ocean plan to guide siting, review and implementation of renewable ocean energy projects. The Joint Agency Review Team (JART), described in the TSP, is recognized by Oregon Shores as the lead decision-making body. All ocean development projects must meet Oregonís ocean planning goal, Goal 19. Oregon Shores favors the stateís certification authority under 401 of the Clean Water Act as well as its authority under the Coastal Zone Management Act.
Oregon should maintain public control and ownership over its seafloor through the leasing process and not relinquish any ownership of the seafloor for private ownership. Oregon Shores supports state and federal agencies requirements to remove all equipment if and when the project is decommissioned.
3. Federal Environmental Laws - Oregon Shores supports the existing permitting and regulatory authorities of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to require consultation and to issue biological opinions to meet the requirement of federal environmental laws including the ESA and the Marine Mammal Protection Act for all pilot and commercial renewable ocean energy projects.
4. Pilot Projects - Oregon Shores supports efforts to test pilot renewable ocean energy projects that will be monitored to fully understand any ecological consequences of ocean energy development before moving to commercial-scale projects. Oregon Shores opposes any commercial-size projects before the Territorial Seal Plan amendment process has been completed to fully address renewable ocean energy development. Oregon Shores maintains its ability to oppose any project or project component if found to cause significant environmental impact.
5. Siting - Oregon Shores believes that appropriate siting of renewable ocean energy development is critical. All renewable ocean energy projects --- including all offshore components, cables to shore and onshore components -- must avoid siting in important ecological habitat, including rocky intertidal areas, kelp beds, offshore rocky reefs and areas designated or proposed for marine reserves or other protective designations. Siting must not significantly interfere with migration and feeding behavior and needs of marine species, including the gray whale. Siting must also consider coastal and ocean hazards including subduction earthquakes, tsunamis, sea level rise and increasing storm surge from climate change, as well as navigation safety concerns, especially near ports.
6. Marine Reserves - Oregon Shores opposes the siting of renewable ocean energy projects in a marine reserve or the site of a proposed marine reserve. Oregon Shores supports designation of a scientifically defensible system of marine reserves and protected areas to protect important ecological areas from future development.
7. On-shore access/protection - Oregon Shores believes that no renewable ocean energy project should interfere with access to and along Oregonís beaches or rocky intertidal areas and that currently allowed uses, including surf clamming and onshore fishing, be maintained in accordance with state plans. Further, the shoreline should be kept in its natural state free from on-shore development related to renewable ocean energy production, including rip-rap or other structures designed to retard sand movement.
8. Cumulative Effects - Oregon Shores supports early efforts to anticipate any cumulative effects of renewable ocean energy development along Oregonís coast and should partner with Washington and California to consider cumulative effects along the entire California Current.
9. Education/Outreach - Oregon Shores will serve as a fair broker of information about renewable ocean energy development.
10. Active Participation - Oregon Shores intends to actively participate in shaping state, federal and local policy wherever possible as renewable ocean energy projects are considered for Oregon. Oregon Shores supports the use of a transparent process that allows for adequate public involvement in all aspects of ocean and coastal policy and planning efforts.