In a June 3 hearing the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies urged DOI Secretary Ken Salazar to consider the potential negative environmental impacts of renewable projects on surrounding habitats both on- and offshore. Subcommittee Chairman Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) stated the infrastructure required for renewable projects could make a "huge mark" on areas designated for conservation. Sen. Feinstein asked the Secretary to mitigate those consequences through the DOI permitting process. Ranking Committee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) suggested that renewable energy developers be required to post bonds that could later be used to remove equipment and restore the natural habitat to its original condition once the projects are no longer viable. Sec. Salazar was receptive to the bond idea, and agreed "what we need to do is make sure that as we are permitting renewable energy projects we are doing it cradle to grave." A webcast of the hearing can be viewed here.

Offshore Energy Law Blog notes that MMS' Final Rule for renewable energy projects on the OCS includes a bonding and decommissioning requirement for such facilities.