In President Obama’s State of the Union address, he called for an “all of the above” energy strategy. And the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has decided to answer that call, along with the commonwealth of Massachusetts, in announcing that it is moving forward with the next step to consider commercial wind energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) offshore Massachusetts.
According to a BOEM press release, the area under consideration is located off the coast of Massachusetts beginning approximately 12 nautical miles south of Martha’s Vineyard and 13 nautical miles southwest of Nantucket.
BOEM’s Call for Information and Nominations will serve to identify locations within an offshore area in which there is industry interest to seek commercial leases for developing wind projects. BOEM is seeking public comment about site conditions and other existing uses of the identified area that would be relevant to BOEM’s potential leasing and development authorization process.
BOEM will also be seeking public comment through a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) — on the environmental and socioeconomic issues to be considered as well as alternatives and mitigation measures. The purpose of the EA is to inform decision makers and determine if there are significant impacts associated with issuing leases and approving site assessment activities in the potential Wind Energy Areas. In coordination with this National Environmental Policy Act review, BOEM will conduct a review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and requests public comments regarding the identification of historic properties or potential effects to historic properties through the Notice of Intent.
On Monday, February 13 and Tuesday, February 14, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) will host officials from the BOEM for a series of public information meetings. The purpose of the meetings is to provide information and take public comment on BOEM’s issuance of the Call for Information and Nominations and Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the potential development of offshore wind energy projects in an area of federal waters on the Outer Continental Shelf south of Massachusetts. The sessions will include presentations from BOEM followed by a public comment period.
The meeting times and locations are:
- Monday February 13, 5pm to 7pm — , 54 Spring Street, Vineyard Haven, MA
- Tuesday February 14, 3pm to 5pm — Conference Room “B”, 2nd Floor, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, 100 Cambridge Street, Boston
BOEM’s Call for Information and Nominations and Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Assessment as well as maps of the area were noticed in the February 6, 2012 Federal Register and can be found on the BOEM Website.