November 29, 2023

Biden Administration Removes Taxpayer Safeguards to Greenlight Offshore Wind Project

Joe Biden has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar again.

A watchdog obtained internal documentation from the Biden administration that shows just how fast and loose Biden is playing with taxpayer dollars.

The administration waived significant fees for an offshore wind project, which goes against protocol on these types of projects.

Fast and Loose

Generally speaking, when these projects are approved, the developers have to pay development fees.

These fees are meant to safeguard taxpayers from absorbing the costs of returning leased lands or waters to pre-lease conditions.

In this particular case, the Biden administration waived development fees for Vineyard Wind, but this is far more tangled than a simple waiver that could cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, if not more.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which falls under the Department of the Interior, waived the fees in June 2021.

This is an important date because a short time later, Tommy Beadreau resigned from Latham & Watkins, a law firm that was representing Vineyard Wind.

After resigning his position, Beadreau was sworn in as the Deputy Interior Secretary, the second-highest position in the DoI. He has since resigned, leaving the position in October.

Beadreau says there is nothing to see here because he was not directly involved in the waiver process. Protect the Public Trust (PPT) disagrees.

PPT Director Michael Chamberlain stated, "At the same time the Department of the Interior was looking at forcing greater and more expensive bonding requirements on holders of long-standing oil and gas leases, they were relaxing these requirements on the nation's first utility-scale offshore wind energy producer, one that just coincidentally happened to be a client of their incoming #2.

"If you want to talk about bad optics, I don’t see how they could be any worse than right here.

"For an administration touting itself as the most ethical in history, this represents yet another incident in which Secretary Haaland’s Interior appears to have a tough time living up to that standard."

Beyond the obvious, one of the reasons this is getting additional attention is because a similar project, Ocean Wind 1 folded.

This was one of six like projects that were approved by the DoI, citing various economic challenges that caused the company to abandon the project that was set to operate off the New Jersey coast.

At the same time, the Biden administration has raised minimum bids, bonding requirements, and royalty rates on fossil fuel projects to try to drive them out of business.

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