C&BP Requests Records of Coast Guard’s George Detweiler
As our probe into the Coast Guard’s offshore wind study continues, a central player has emerged: George Detweiler.
As readers will remember, we’ve been investigating the shipping lobby’s influence over an important, five-year study about balancing the development of a fledgling offshore wind energy industry in the U.S. with shipping interests. At every level, the U.S. Coast Guard has been consistently evasive in the face of basic questions about how the study was conducted – and under whose influence.
Last week, we filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for records of George Detweiler’s communications and meetings with members of the still-secret Working Group that produced the study, known as the Atlantic Coast Port Access Route Study (ACPARS), and stakeholders such as the shipping industry’s top lobbyists.
Detweiler and Project Manager Emile Benard traveled to numerous meetings and events during the study, warning offshore wind developers who were considering bidding on offshore wind tracks that they could lose significant amounts of what they would lease if the study favored the shipping lobby – which it does. Industry sources tell us that this created a chilling effect throughout the offshore wind industry.
Since the final study was released in March 2016, Mr. Detweiler has publicly defended the study on behalf of the Coast Guard at least twice on the record. In Politico Pro, he hedged on whether the Coast Guard would reopen the ACPARS study. Detweiler also asserted in a shipping industry publication that the study’s recommendations are going in effect.
This is despite no significant input with the wind industry; no attempt to learn from offshore wind energy officials or developers in Europe, where in some of the 3,200+ offshore wind terminals coexist in denser shipping lanes; significant and certain influence by the shipping lobby – despite a claim made by a Coast Guard spokesperson that there was none; and the bipartisan Governor’s Coalition for Solar and Wind Energy expressing concern about the lack of balance in the study.
To read the entire records request, click above on the image or HERE:
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Evlondo Cooper is a senior fellow with Checks and Balances Project, a national watchdog blog that seeks to hold government officials, lobbyists, and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP comes from sustainable economy philanthropies and donors.