Shaheen Helps Introduce Bill to Invest in Coastal Resiliency Through Offshore Wind Development

June 23, 2021

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) in introducing the Reinvesting in Shoreline Economies & Ecosystems (RISEE) Act. The RISEE Act would create a new dedicated stream of funding from future offshore wind development for coastal protection and resiliency. This will allow for more equitable resource-sharing between states, the federal government and conservation programs. It also amends the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA). 

“Rising sea levels pose serious threats to New Hampshire’s coastal communities, from disrupting businesses like fisheries to eroding beaches and threatening neighborhoods. It’s only getting worse as climate change intensifies,” said Shaheen. “We need federal investments to safeguard these communities and restore coastal ecosystems, which is why I’m cosponsoring a bill to dedicate resources from offshore wind energy production. I’ll continue working across bipartisan lines in the Senate to invest in the resilience of coastal communities on the frontlines of climate change.”   

Current law requires all revenues generated from offshore wind leases and production beyond state waters be deposited in the U.S. Treasury. The RISEE Act sends 50% of offshore wind revenue to adjacent states where offshore wind farms are developed. The state share is based on a formula developed by the Secretary of Interior to ensure states are receiving revenues from wind energy development off their coasts. By sharing offshore wind revenues with nearby states, the RISEE Act will offer budget incentives for state and local governments to facilitate successful siting processes, balancing the needs of different ocean users and getting turbines up and running. 

The state funds can be used: 

  • For coastal restoration, hurricane protection, or infrastructure; 
  • To mitigate damage to fish, wildlife, or other natural resources, including through fisheries science and research; and 
  • To implement a marine, coastal, or conservation management plan.  

In addition, 37.5% of offshore wind revenues would serve as a further dedicated funding source for the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund. This Fund includes dollars to States based on a formula and also provides competitive grants to coastal and Great Lakes communities to respond to coastal erosion and sea level rise, restore coastal habitat, and make improvements to coastal infrastructure. 

Full text of the bill is available here

Senator Shaheen is a leader in the Senate for safeguarding our natural environment. Through her leadership on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Shaheen has continuously secured federal resources to bolster coastal resiliency and conservation efforts. Shaheen introduced widely praised bipartisan legislation with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to save American homes and businesses billions of dollars in energy costs and dramatically reduce the United States’ carbon footprint. Shaheen is a vocal advocate of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and cosponsored the bill signed into law last year to permanently fund the LWCF and help address the more than $43 million maintenance backlog in New Hampshire. Last year, Shaheen authored an op-ed in the Boston Globe with Senator Whitehouse, underscoring crashing coastal property value and warning of the economic fallout along our coasts due to the impacts of climate change.