The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has completed its environmental review of potential impacts from offshore wind energy leasing activities offshore New York, finding no significant impacts from the plan.
The area, known as the New York Bight, encompasses around 800,000 acres in the Atlantic Ocean located offshore New York and New Jersey identified for potential wind energy leasing and development, with potential to unlock over 7 gigawatts of offshore wind energy.
As part of the final Environmental Assessment, BOEM has issued a finding of no significant impact (FONSI).
“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.”
The environmental assessment considered 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 initially announced its intent to prepare an EA for the New York Bight on March 29, 2021, seeking public input that drew approximately 3,000 comments.
This is comes as the Biden Administration is seeking to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030.