OFFSHORE ENERGY FACILIATION TASK TEAM

Purpose

The CMTS Offshore Energy Facilitation Task Team (OEF TT) will support the Biden Administration's goal of providing 30 GW of power from offshore wind by 2030 by pursuing and facilitating the development of Federal guidance on Munitions and Explosives of Concern (EC) mitigation within offshore wind energy leases and supporting new and emerging issues as agreed upon by the members.

Background

Throughout the last century various munitions and explosives of concern (MECs) have been deposited on the seabed of the United States' outer continental shelf, with a concentration on the Atlantic Seaboard. These munitions have ended up on the sea floor through a variety of processes including dumping, military training exercises, and war-time placements, among others. MECs can include unexploded ordnances ("UXO") and other hazardous munitions materials, such as mortars, artillery shells, or even chemical weapons such as mustard gas. As the demand for renewable energy increases, many states and companies are turning to offshore wind and the industry is rapidly increasing. In February 2022, the Department of Interior set a record $4.37 billion-dollar offshore wind lease auction, and the U.S. offshore wind energy sector is projected to become a $100 billion dollar industry over the next decade. However, MECs and UXO pose a project hazard for leaseholders developing these offshore wind projects. As more of these leases are developed, the potential for a project encountering an unexpected MECs/UXO during the construction phase of their projects will continue to increase. On September 1, 2021, the CMTS held the first interagency workshop on the topic, resulting in the establishment of the Offshore Energy Facilitation Task Team (OEFTT). The mission of the OEFTT is to support the Biden Administration's goal of providing 30 GW of power from offshore wind by 2030 by pursuing and facilitating the development of Federal guidance on Munitions and Explosives of Concern mitigation within offshore wind energy leases and supporting new and emerging issues as agreed upon by the members. The OEFTT is co-led by BSEE and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and held its first meeting on October 20, 2021.

Value

There is currently no federal guidance or regulations for offshore wind leaseholders on what they should do in the event a munition of concern (MEC) or unexploded ordinance (UXO) is discovered. The OEFTT was stood up in order to address this regulatory uncertainty by brining relevant agencies together to develop a working federal policy to guide the offshore wind industry when a confirmed MEC/UXO that impacts a project is discovered.

Integrated Action Team Leads

  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement

Participating Agencies

  • Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)
  • Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Marine Mammal Commission
  • U.S. Department of Energy
  • Office of the Secretary of Defense
  • U.S. Army
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
  • U.S. Coast Guard (USACE)
  • U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD)
  • U.S. Navy
  • Oceanographer of the Navy

Activity and Milestones