In response to the Biden administration’s plan to build a 546,645-acre wind farm off the Galveston coast, State Rep. Mayes Middleton (R–Galveston) sent a letter to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) warning of potential negative impacts for Texans.
Earlier this year, President Joe Biden designated the massive acreage as a “Wind Energy Area” and directed federal officials to lease the area to a wind energy company. BOEM, a Department of the Interior offshoot, claims the project will produce enough energy to power 2.3 million homes.
The plan also includes a 188,023-acre wind farm 56 miles off the shore of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Both are part of President Joe Biden’s recent push to shift U.S. energy reliance away from oil and natural gas. Last year, Biden set a goal to produce 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, which the administration claims could power 10 million homes––a mere 7 percent of U.S. households.
Middleton highlighted renewable energy’s unreliability, drawing attention to failures when the state’s wind turbines froze during the February 2021 winter storm and solar panels failed to produce enough energy, leaving many Texans without electricity in extreme weather conditions.
The federal government’s offshore wind push, which is part and parcel with the Biden Administration’s Green New Deal agenda, and will only increase the unreliability of the Texas electrical grid at great taxpayer expense. This proposed project is just doing more of what has failed us, wind energy demonstrated pitiful dispatch reliability in the times of greatest need both in the winter freeze in 2021 and peak summer demand in July 2022.
Middleton accused BOEM of violating federal law by not preparing an environmental impact statement to inform residents of how the development would affect other operations near the Galveston coast, including commercial fishing. The lawmaker expressed concern for the region’s economic interests, explaining how the wind farm will interfere with offshore shipping lanes and cost the Port of Houston $802 billion annually.
“Yet BOEM has approved offshore wind leases despite knowing full well that their actions would cause the abandonment of the entire lease area by commercial fishermen ‘due to difficulties with navigation,’” said Middleton. “If BOEM leased portions of the Gulf’s Outer Continental Shelf for offshore wind projects despite knowing the project would undoubtedly interfere with the use of the lease area as a fishery, not only would this violate OCSLA, but it would severely harm America’s food supply and decrease shoreside businesses’ profits, and make us more reliant on imported seafood from Asia.”
Middleton then called for the Biden Administration to re-evaluate their plan and consider how a 500,000-acre wind farm would affect Texans.
“There are grave concerns about the serious harm that the proposed leases could have on the commercial and recreational fishing industry, the maritime economy, the human environment, and Texas’ economic prosperity that need to be resolved before any lease should even be considered.”