BOEM Releases Environmental Assessment of New York Offshore Wind Lease Area

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced the availability of an Environmental Assessment (EA) for commercial wind lease issuance, site characterization activities, and site assessment activities on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf offshore New York.

The EA considers the potential impacts of the proposed action and an analysis of reasonable alternatives to the proposed action, excluding the area within two nautical miles of the traffic separation schemes, and no action.

This Notice of Availability (NOA) also serves to announce the beginning of the public comment period on the EA. The EA and associated information are available here.

Should a lessee propose to construct a commercial wind facility through submission of a Construction and Operations Plan, BOEM would conduct a separate site- and project-specific National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis, likely an Environmental Impact Statement, and would provide additional opportunities for public involvement.

BOEM will consider public comments on the EA in determining whether to issue a Finding of No Significant Impact, or conduct additional analysis under NEPA. Federal, state, tribal, and local governments and/or agencies and the public can submit written comments on the EA. Comments on the EA will be accepted until 6 July, 2016.

BOEM will also hold public meetings in New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island from 20 to 23 June to explain the proposed activities analyzed in the EA and to provide additional opportunity for public comment on the EA.

In addition to the EA, BOEM published a ”Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) for Commercial Leasing for Wind Power on the Outer Continental Shelf Offshore New York” in the Federal Register, which includes a 60-day public comment period ending on 5 August, 2016.

The US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Abigail Ross Hopper announced the proposed lease sale and Environmental Assessment for 81,130 acres offshore New York for commercial wind energy leasing on 2 June.

The proposed lease area, approximately 11 miles south of Long Island, is identical to the New York Wind Energy Area, which Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) identified earlier this year in consultation with members of its New York Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force.