On behalf of Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club California, Environmental Defense Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, California Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Audubon and our millions of members and supporters, we submit these comments on the California Energy Commission’s (CEC) June 21, 2021 Workshop to Present Next Steps for Considering Offshore Wind Energy off the California Coast. We appreciate your efforts to organize the workshop and inform the public of the process for offshore wind (OSW) planning in California. Offshore wind offers the potential for consistent renewable energy that could provide significant energy, climate, and economic benefits for local communities, California, and the western grid. Our organizations are united in support of responsibly developed OSW energy as a critically needed climate change solution. Responsible siting and operation of OSW energy (i) avoids, minimizes, monitors, and mitigates adverse impacts on marine, coastal and terrestrial wildlife and their habitats, (ii) reduces negative impacts on traditional ocean uses, (iii) meaningfully engages state and local government, Native American Tribes and communities, and other stakeholders from the outset, and (iv) uses the best available scientific and technological data to ensure science-based and stakeholder-informed decision making.
We believe that OSW energy development can and must advance in an environmentally responsible manner that reflects the best available science, includes stakeholders, and minimizes impacts to marine and terrestrial ecosystems. To ensure that OSW energy development meets California’s ambitious climate and clean energy goals, OSW development must safeguard valuable and vulnerable ocean and terrestrial habitats, fish and wildlife, cultural resources, and communities. We urge the CEC, along with other State Agencies and Bureau of Offshore Energy Management (BOEM), to continue to engage stakeholders early and often in discussions, especially regarding strategies that avoid, minimize, and mitigate any potential impacts to California’s beloved and critically important ocean life.