BOEM - Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

06/20/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/20/2024 07:43

BOEM Seeks Public Input on Draft Environmental Analysis of Gulf of Maine Offshore Wind Area

In support of the Biden-Harris administration's goals for deploying 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030 and 15 GW of floating offshore wind energy capacity by 2035, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) today announced the availability of its draft Environmental Assessment (EA) of the Wind Energy Area (WEA) located in the U.S. Gulf of Maine.

The draft EA analyzes the potential issuance of commercial wind energy leases offshore Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. The draft EA considers the potential environmental impacts associated with activities such as surveys and installation of meteorological buoys, but not installation of offshore turbines, which would be covered by a separate environmental review if a project proposal is submitted by a leaseholder.

"As we move forward with our renewable energy process to consider proposed offshore wind activities in the Gulf of Maine, BOEM will continue to engage with Tribes, other governmental agencies, ocean users, local communities and others," said BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein. "Our primary objective is to ensure that any future offshore wind development is done in a way that avoids or minimizes potential impacts on other ocean activities and the marine environment."

On April 30, 2024, the Department of the Interior announced a proposed offshore wind energy lease sale in the Gulf of Maine, which would include eight potential leasing areas within the WEA offshore Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. The eight areas total nearly one million acres and have the potential to generate approximately 15 GW of clean, renewable energy and power more than five million homes. BOEM partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science to develop a comprehensive, ecosystem-based ocean planning model that assisted in the selection of the proposed lease areas.

On March 15, 2024, the Department of the Interior announced that BOEM would prepare an EA on potential impacts from offshore wind energy leasing in the Gulf of Maine. Comments received by BOEM to inform the EA can be found at www.regulations.gov under Docket No. BOEM-2024-0020.

The notice of availability of the draft EA announces the start of the public review and comment period, as well as the dates and times for public meetings. Input from the public will be used to develop a final EA, which will inform BOEM's decision on whether to hold a commercial wind energy lease sale.

Should a lease sale advance and before approving any proposed offshore wind project, BOEM will conduct an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to analyze potential impacts from any proposed offshore wind energy project plan in the Gulf of Maine before deciding whether to approve it. BOEM will prepare the EIS in consultation with Tribes and appropriate government agencies, and will seek input from ocean users, key stakeholders, and the public prior to making its decision.

How to Submit Comments

BOEM will publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing the availability of its draft EA on June 21, 2024, initiating a 30-day public comment period that ends at 11:59 pm ET on July 22, 2024. To comment on the draft EA, go to www.regulations.gov and search for BOEM-2024-0030.

BOEM will hold two virtual public meetings during the public comment period. Registration is required. The virtual public meetings will be held:

More information on the draft EA can be found at https://www.boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/maine/gulf-maine.

-- BOEM --

The Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) manages development of U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) energy, mineral, and geological resources in an environmentally and economically responsible way.