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A bipartisan group of senators floated legislation today to promote development of offshore wind energy projects.

The measure from Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) would create a 30 percent investment tax credit for the first 3,000 megawatts of new offshore wind projects.

"This legislation is essential to encourage the continued growth of this fledgling industry," Carper said in a statement. "Guaranteeing these tax incentives for the first 3,000 megawatts will spur the industry to get these projects up and running and encourage further development even in these challenging economic times," Carper said.

But the nation's economic situation could hinder the bill's progress as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are looking for ways to cut federal spending.

Specifically, the new measure would require the Treasury Department to consult with the Energy and Interior departments when setting up the credit program, but Treasury would have the final say on which companies receive a credit. Once awarded a credit, companies would have five years to install the wind facility. And companies cannot receive other production or investment tax credits under the language.

Co-sponsors of the legislation include Republican Susan Collins of Maine and Democrats Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Chris Coons of Delaware, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

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