BGA Comments on Commercial Leasing for Wind Power Development on the Outer Continental Shelf Offshore Oregon
When done right, offshore wind power will create thousands of high-quality, family-sustaining jobs in manufacturing, construction, operations and maintenance, and in the development of port facilities, transmission, and other associated infrastructure while also minimizing environmental impacts.
Last year, Oregon committed to transition to 100% clean energy by 2040 by enacting HB 2021. The law requires utility companies to convene a “Community Benefits and Impacts Advisory Group”, cap ratepayer increases in energy cost at 6%, and maximize job training opportunities for communities of color, rural communities, and low-income communities. The law also established “Responsible Labor Standards” requirements for developers, contractors, and subcontractors of large-scale energy projects of 10 megawatts or greater.
The White House has identified the offshore wind industry as a catalyst for spawning new supply chains and strengthening existing capabilities and creating tens of thousands of good-paying union jobs. Additionally, a 2022 White House Report on Worker Organizing and Empowerment states that public support for a union in their workplace is higher than it’s been since 1965, with 68% of people supporting labor unions. Support rises to 74% for workers aged 18 to 24, 75% for Hispanic workers, 80% for Black workers, and 82% for Black women workers. And, if all these workers had the union representation that they say they want, union membership would be four to five times higher than it is right now.
Unionization can also ensure greater safety for workers, which is one of the requirements under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA).