Editor’s Log: Still Time To Comment On Wind Projects - The Fisherman

Editor’s Log: Still Time To Comment On Wind Projects

The clock is ticking on your opportunity to comment on the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) proposed sale for offshore wind development on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the New York Bight. The proposal includes eight lease areas in the New York Bight that could be auctioned for commercial wind energy development.

Proposed plans to build more than 200 wind turbines off Long Island’s South Shore and in New York Bight have generated conflicting views between many anglers, and the recreational and commercial fishing industries. It seems whenever the conversation comes up, there are some anglers, captains and other recreational stakeholders, who point to places like the Gulf of Mexico where oil platforms have provided structure that has resulted in excellent fishing opportunities. The bases of the turbines have the potential to provide ideal structure for species like sea bass, porgies, blackfish and fluke. The desire for clean power and moving away from dependency on fossil fuels is also cited as a reason for supporting the “wind farms.” The proposed lease areas have the potential to unlock over seven gigawatts of offshore wind energy, powering more than 2.6 million homes and supporting thousands of new jobs.

On the other side is concern for the impact the turbines may have on fish migrations, the marine environment overall, and concerns about security zones limiting access to fishing areas. Commercial fishermen are very much united in their opposition to the proposed turbines.

Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) published in the Federal Register on June 14, 2021, which initiated a 60-day public comment period, provides detailed information about potential areas that could be available for leasing, proposed lease provisions and conditions, auction details (e.g., criteria for evaluating competing bids and award procedures), and lease execution.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management requests public comments on its proposal to auction eight lease areas in the New York Bight for potential commercial wind energy development. Further information regarding the Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) can be found on BOEM’s New York Bight webpage. For information on how to comment, go to: https://www.regulations.gov/commenton/BOEM-2021-0033-0001.  The public comment period ends on August 12.

Additionally, BOEM has published a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Empire Wind project. This project would be located in federal waters approximately 12 nautical miles south of Long Island. BOEM held a public virtual meeting on Tuesday, July 13 to learn about the Empire Wind Construction and Operations Plan (COP), ask questions, and provide oral testimony. Unfortunately, we received notice of the meeting just a day before it was scheduled to take place. You can find detailed information about the proposed wind energy facilities on BOEM’s website

You can comment on the Empire Wind Project in written form, delivered by hand or by mail, enclosed in an envelope labeled, “Empire Wind Scoping Comments.” It should be addressed to Program Manager, Office of Renewable Energy, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, 45600 Woodland Road, Sterling, Virginia 20166; or online through the regulations.gov web portal: Navigate to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket No. BOEM-2021-0038 Click on the “Comment Now!” button to the right of the document link. Enter your information and comment, then click “Submit Comment.” Comments must be submitted by 11:59 PM on July 26.

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