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In a joint statement, Ken Salazar, secretary of the Department of the Interior (DOI), and Jon Wellinghoff, acting chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), said that the two agencies have confirmed their intent to work together to facilitate the permitting of renewable energy in offshore waters.

"Our renewable energy is too important for bureaucratic turf battles to slow down our progress," says Salazar. "I am proud that we have reached an agreement with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regarding our respective roles in approving offshore renewable energy projects. This agreement will help sweep aside red tape so that our country can capture the great power of wave, tidal, wind and solar power off our coasts."

DOI's responsibility for the permitting and development of renewable energy resources on the outer continental shelf is broad, with DOI having permitting and development authority over wind power projects that use offshore resources beyond state waters.

Under the Federal Power Act, FERC has the statutory responsibility to oversee the development of hydropower resources in U.S. navigable waters. FERC will have the primary responsibility to manage the licensing of projects in offshore waters pursuant to the Federal Power Act.

The two agencies have requested that their staffs prepare a memorandum of understanding that sets forth these principles and describes the process by which permits and licenses related to renewable energy resources in offshore waters will be developed.

SOURCES: Department of the Interior, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

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