The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has completed its environmental review of potential impacts from offshore wind energy leasing activities in the New York Bight, a portion of the Atlantic Ocean located offshore New York and New Jersey, and found no significant impact.
The New York Bight WEAs are located in an area of shallow waters between Long Island (to the north and east) and the New Jersey coast (to the south and west)
“The final Environmental Assessment (EA) assesses potential impacts from the issuance of leases within nearly 800,000 acres of wind energy areas in the New York Bight. Based on the analysis in the EA, BOEM has issued a finding of no significant impact (FONSI),” BOEM said Thursday.
“The completion of this Environmental Assessment is an important step forward in advancing the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of increasing renewable energy development on federal lands and waters,” said BOEM Director Amanda Lefton. “BOEM is focused on ensuring that any development in the New York Bight is done responsibly and in a way that avoids or minimizes impacts to the ocean and other ocean users in the region.”
BOEM said that the Environmental Assessment considers potential environmental consequences of site characterization activities (i.e., biological, archeological, geological, and geophysical surveys and core samples) and site assessment activities (i.e., installation of meteorological buoys). The EA also considers project easements associated with each potential lease and related right-of-way grants for subsea cable corridors in the New York Bight.
“Should a lease sale advance and before approving the construction of any offshore wind energy facility in the New York Bight wind energy areas, BOEM will develop an Environmental Impact Statement to analyze the specific environmental consequences, in consultation with Tribes and appropriate federal, state, and local agencies, and with participation by stakeholders and the public,” BOEM said.
Commenting on the completion of BOEM’s review, National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) President Erik Milito said:”The completion of the environmental review of New York Bight offshore wind leasing, which found no significant impacts, means that two coastal states with massive populations and large economies are a step closer to new energy and economic opportunities.
“Not only will a New York Bight offshore wind lease sale open a door to investment in New York and New Jersey – two states critical to the success of American offshore wind – but will support jobs and businesses throughout the U.S.
“The release of the environmental analysis comes two days after the three-year anniversary of the most recent U.S. offshore wind lease. That sale, for offshore Massachusetts, generated a ‘bidding bonanza,’ with $405 million in winning bids. We are just scratching the surface of what American offshore wind will achieve. NOIA applauds BOEM and encourages them to keep up the momentum so that critical investments have the certainty needed to support our supply chain, ports, and workers.”
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