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Change in the air: US to restart review of big offshore wind farm | Climate Change News

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The move is part of the Biden administration’s plan to speed up development of renewable energy on federal lands and waters.

The Biden administration said on Wednesday it would restart permitting for the first key offshore wind farm in the United States, reversing a Trump administration decision that cancelled the process late last year.

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) said in a statement it would resume an environmental review of the Vineyard Wind project as part of the administration’s broad plan to speed up renewable energy development on federal lands and waters.

“BOEM is committed to conducting a robust and timely review of the proposed project,” Director Amanda Lefton said in the statement.

In December, Vineyard Wind requested a pause in the federal permitting process while it determined whether changes to its design were necessary because of a switch in turbine manufacturers, prompting BOEM to terminate its entire review.

Former President Donald Trump had promised to support the nascent US industry as part of his energy-dominance agenda, but the allowing of Vineyard Wind to go ahead was delayed repeatedly in part due to concerns its turbines would interfere with commercial fishing.

Vineyard Wind is a joint venture between Avangrid Inc, a unit of Spain’s Iberdrola, and Denmark’s Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. The project is 15 miles (24 kilometres) off the coast of Massachusetts. Once constructed, it is expected to provide power to more than 400,000 Massachusetts homes.

“We’re very pleased,” Vineyard Wind said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the agency as we launch an industry that will create thousands of good-paying jobs while also taking meaningful steps to reduce the impact of climate change.”

The Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, a fishing industry group, said it hoped the resumption of the permitting process would provide new opportunities for the public to weigh in on the project.



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Top New York state lawmaker says Cuomo ‘must resign’ | Politics News

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Pressure is mounting on Governor Andrew Cuomo to step down amid allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing increased pressure to step down, after he was accused by several women of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behaviour.

In a statement shared by local media on Sunday, New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said accounts of alleged wrongdoing against Cuomo are “drawing away from the business of government”.

“New York is still in the midst of this pandemic and is still facing the societal, health and economic impacts of it. We need to govern without daily distraction. For the good of the state, Governor Cuomo must resign,” she said.

Several women have come forward in recent weeks to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment and misconduct, including inappropriate comments of a sexual nature, as well as unwanted sexual advances.

Cuomo, who drew national attention for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, has also been criticised after US media outlets reported that his top aides obscured the true number of people killed by the coronavirus in the state’s nursing homes.

“We have allegations about sexual harassment, a toxic work environment, the loss of credibility surrounding the COVID-19 nursing home data and questions about the construction of a major infrastructure project,” Stewart-Cousins said in her statement.

Cuomo has also faced criticism after US media reported his aides obscured the true number of coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes in New York state [File: Yuki Iwamura/AP Photo]

State Assembly Speaker Carl E Heastie also spoke out on Sunday about the allegations, which he described as “deeply disturbing” and having “no place whatsoever in government, the workplace or anywhere else”.

“I too share the sentiment of Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins regarding the Governor’s ability to continue to lead this state. We have many challenges to address, and I think it is time for the Governor to seriously consider whether he can effectively meet the needs of the people of New York,” Heastie said in a statement, as reported by local media.

While Cuomo at first denied any wrongdoing, he said on February 28 that he “never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm”.

“I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended,” he said in a statement at that time.

New York is still in the midst of this pandemic… We need to govern without daily distraction. For the good of the state, Governor Cuomo must resign

Andrea Stewart-Cousins, New York State Senate Majority Leader

Last week, he apologised and said he would cooperate with an investigation into his conduct, but would not resign.

He reiterated that position on Sunday, telling reporters during a conference call that it would be “anti-democratic” for him to step down.

“They don’t override the people’s will, they don’t get to override elections,” said Cuomo, when asked about members of his own party calling for his resignation. “I was elected by the people of New York state. I wasn’t elected by politicians.”



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