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Posted: December 8, 2011

House approves legislation to secure domestic offshore wind energy jobs for Americans

The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday passed legislation to clarify that offshore wind farms must comply with the same laws as offshore oil and gas production. If approved by the Senate and signed into law, the legislation would create a strong job market for American mariners.

The Providing for Our Workforce and Energy Resources Act (POWER Act), H.R. 2360, was introduced by Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA) and approved by voice vote.

'The POWER Act makes an important clarification to ensure wind energy follows the same playbook that has made U.S. offshore oil and gas production such a nationally important, job-creating field,' Rep. Landry said. 'The POWER Act provides important certainty so investors can confidently support offshore renewable projects and create new jobs for American offshore workers. I applaud all who joined me in voting for final passage of the bill.'

The legislation, if passed, would close a loophole in existing law that allows offshore renewable energy resources to be installed or serviced by foreign workers. Specifically, the bill would amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to ensure all of the nation's laws are applicable to the emerging offshore renewable energy market on the Outer Continental Shelf.

There are many hurdles facing offshore wind and solar projects, but as the industry grows, there will be substantial need for qualified mariners to operate vessels to install, service and maintain offshore wind turbines and other equipment. The POWER Act, if signed into law, would help ensure those jobs go to American mariners.

The POWER Act will now move to the Senate for consideration.