From The Office of Congressman Charles Bass

For ImmediateRelease Contact: Tad Furtado

April 11, 2006 Office: 202-225-5206


Calls on Congress to Allow Diversification of the Region's Electricity Market

Washington , D.C. - Congressman Charles Bass (R-NH02) today notified the House Leadership and House negotiators on the Coast Guardand Maritime Transportation Act (H.R. 889) that he opposes the addition of language to the legislation that would effectively halt progress on the proposed Cape Wind offshore wind farm that would produce up to 420 megawatts of clean, renewable energy.

"Current estimates are that by as early as 2008 our region may have insufficient supplies to meet its electricity needs," said Bass. "Because the New England electricity grid is interconnected and interdependent, failing to ensure adequate resources for tomorrow's needs could affect my constituents in New Hampshire and force the entire region to pay higher rates if we are forced into using costlier fuels."

The Conference Committee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act released their Conference Report on April 6. Section 414 of the Report contains a special-interest exception from current law for "an offshore wind energy facility in the area commonly known as 'Nantucket Soun d'".

"In New England , our choice is between new, clean, renewable energy and older, dirty, fossil-fuels based sources," added the Second District Republican. "Wind, like biomass and solar energy, can now be cost competitive through the advancement of technology. Our environment, economy, and national security will benefit by moving away from the fuels of yesterday and instead adopting twenty-first century systems as soon as practical."

The recently enacted Energy Policy Act recognized the need to streamline the siting and permitting of energy projects and the interstate nature of energy resources. In addition, the Energy Policy Act provided explicit authority to the Minerals Management Service to grant easements on the outer continental shelf for the commercial development of offshore wind energy.

" The Coast Guard bill is an improper place to be setting the nation's energy policy," concluded Bass. "This section was inserted without proper debate and contradicts all the progress made over the past year."

Congressman Bass is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and served as conferee on the Energy Policy Act. He is among the House of Representative's foremost leaders in support of renewable and alternative energy development.