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Interior, FERC agree on offshore energy

By H. JOSEF HEBERT – Associated Press Writer

A squabble between two government agencies that delayed offshore wind energy development has been settled.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Jon Wellingham, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, signed an agreement Thursday that divides federal approval responsibilities for offshore renewable energy projects.

The dispute goes back two years and had stalled new regulations by Interior’s Minerals Management Service for offshore wind projects.

The Minerals Management Service now will control offshore wind and solar projects and issue leases and easements for wave and ocean current energy development.

The energy regulatory agency will issue licenses for building and operating wave and ocean current projects.