(Daily360.com) – The Biden administration recently made what many see as a shady deal with an energy company to develop an off shore wind production farm by waiving the mandated development fees. A watchdog group called Protect the People’s Trust (PPT) is sounding the alarm on the low key agreement between the administration and a company called Vineyard Wind. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) waived the standard decommissioning costs fee as they fast-tracked the deal.
Vineyard Wind is a company that was formed by Avangrid, a New England utility services company and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, a Danish energy developer. The project was first proposed in 2017 but was rejected by the Trump administration. Once the Biden administration took over they resurrected the project and set it in motion for quick approval.
PPT’s director, Michael Chamberlain, called the deal worse than just “bad optics.” He accuses Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, of falling short of the administration’s claim that it is the ‘most ethical in history.” He points to the Department of Interior’s (DOI) simultaneous efforts to make energy production much harder for oil and gas companies.
Chamberlain also notes that Tommy Beaudreau, the Deputy Interior Secretary and the second most-powerful person in that agency, had a clear conflict of interest regarding this deal. The BOEM works under the DOI and Beaudreau was a partner at Latham & Watkins Law Firm when it was representing Vineyard Wind.
Beaudreau left Latham & Watkins to be sworn in at the DOI and just one week later BOEM waived the fee and approved the Vineyard Wind deal. Beaudreau has responded by saying there is no conflict and he left Latham & Watkins to join another law firm and that he had nothing to do with the fee waiver.
BOEM has stated it waived the fee because Vineyard Wind had to assume larger than normal risk factors making insurers resistant to cover the project. The say they wanted to help with a “regulatory departure” as a way to offset the financial burden on Vineyard Wind. They say their top priority is to achieve energy from sources other than oil and gas.
Members of the House including Chip Roy (R-TX) have said they will also not support tying border security to Ukraine funding. Roy has said if he were Speaker he’d make it known he won’t even entertain the thought of such a deal.
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