Utility-scale winds in shallow offshore areas offer a significant source of clean energy to help meet green power commitments, growing electricity demand, and the heightened challenges of climate change and air pollution. This is particularly true in the Northeastern United States, which has few indigenous energy sources and serious transmission constraints. But the primary regulatory mechanism for mediating among conflicting uses of the coast and coastal ocean—the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972—is highly decentralized and subject to a disorganized array of project veto opportunities. State coastal zone programs may not sufficiently account for wind generation’s broad environmental benefits. Thus, regulatory outcomes—fueled by inapt analogies to a history of offshore oil and gas exploitation—will disfavor this clean energy source. Federal and state authorities should better coordinate their coastal management programs to enable responsible siting where near-shore wind power potential is most promising.