The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has completed its environmental review of potential impacts from offshore wind energy leasing activities in the New York Bight, a part of the Atlantic Ocean located off New York and New Jersey, and has issued a finding of no significant impact.
The final Environmental Assessment assesses potential impacts from the issuance of leases within nearly 800,000 acres of wind energy areas in the New York Bight.
“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,” Amanda Lefton, the bureau’s director, said in a statement last Thursday. “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.”
The environmental assessment considers potential environmental consequences of site characterization activities such as biological, archaeological, geological, and geophysical surveys and core samples, and site assessment activities, such as installation of meteorological buoys. The assessment also considers project easements associated with each potential lease and related right-of-way grants for undersea 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 specific environmental consequences, in consultation with Native American councils and appropriate federal, state, and local agencies, and with participation by stakeholders and the public.
The environmental assessment and finding, and information about the proposed leasing in the New York Bight, is available at bit.ly/3H0obqZ.
In March, after seeking public input on the issues and alternatives, BOEM received about 3,000 comments, which can be found at regulations.gov under Docket No. BOEM-2021-0021. A later 30-day public comment period, after a draft assessment was published, produced another 50 comments, which can be found at regulations.gov under Docket No. BOEM-2021-0054.