Nov. 21, 2011 – Marcilynn A. Burke, a University of Houston Law Center professor on leave while serving at the U.S. Department of the Interior, gave students a glimpse of the agency’s current initiative to create a new energy frontier as a guest lecturer today at the Law Center. The event was sponsored by the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Center.
“America spends hundreds of billions of dollars each year to buy the oil which fuels our economy,” said Burke, acting Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management. “As part of securing our energy future, we must move toward a clean-energy economy. The new energy frontier is one that responsibly develops not only conventional but also renewable resources on America’s public lands.”
According to Burke, the Interior Department is facilitating environmentally appropriate renewable-energy projects involving solar, geothermal, biofuels and hydropower, wind and waves.
One of the agency’s new endeavors focuses on harnessing wind from the Atlantic Ocean. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement manages the Outer Continental Shelf which is 1.7 billion acres of federal-offshore lands with enormous wind-energy potential. BOEMRE has granted the first-ever exploratory leases for wind-energy production and has established a framework for offshore renewable energy development.
“We will continue to develop our country’s conventional resources while building a clean-energy economy,” Burke said. “This is how we move toward energy independence.”
As an associate professor at the Law Center, Burke has taught courses on property, land use and management, and natural resources.