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Overview of the Environmental Assessment for Lease Issuance and Site Assessment Activities off Rhode Island and Massachusetts July 16-17, 2012July 16-17,

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Presentation on theme: "Overview of the Environmental Assessment for Lease Issuance and Site Assessment Activities off Rhode Island and Massachusetts July 16-17, 2012July 16-17,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Overview of the Environmental Assessment for Lease Issuance and Site Assessment Activities off Rhode Island and Massachusetts July 16-17, 2012July 16-17, 2012 Narragansett, RI and New Bedford, MANarragansett, RI and New Bedford, MA Maureen A. Bornholdt, Program ManagerMaureen A. Bornholdt, Program Manager Jennifer Kilanski, Environmental Protection SpecialistJennifer Kilanski, Environmental Protection Specialist Office of Renewable Energy Programs Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

2 Major Milestones  August Call for Information and Nominations and Notice of Intent to prepare an environmental assessment (EA)  February 2012 – Area Identification of RI/MA Wind Energy Area (WEA)  July Notice of Availability of the EA

3 Outline Area of Mutual Interest and Call Area Area of Mutual Interest and Call Area Overview of the Environmental Assessment (EA): Overview of the Environmental Assessment (EA): Activities and resources considered Activities and resources considered Identification of the proposed action and alternatives Identification of the proposed action and alternatives Standard operating conditions Standard operating conditions Alternatives considered Alternatives considered How to comment How to comment

4 Overview of the EA  Resources considered  Proposed action (preferred alternative)  Standard operating conditions  Other alternatives considered  Conclusions  Mandatory Consultations  How to comment

5 Environmental and Socioeconomic Resources Considered Physical Physical  Air Quality  Water Quality Biological Biological  Coastal Habitats  Benthic Resources  Marine Mammals  Sea Turtles  Avian and Bat Species  Fish and Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) Socioeconomic  Cultural Resources  Military Uses  Environmental Justice  Land Use and Coastal Infrastructure  Commercial and Recreational Fishing Activities  Aesthetics and Visual Impacts  Demographics and Employment

6 Proposed Action (Alternative A) and Activities Considered Lease issuance in all areas of the WEA Lease issuance in all areas of the WEA Associated site characterization surveys (e.g., shallow hazards, geological, geotechnical, archaeological, and biological surveys) Associated site characterization surveys (e.g., shallow hazards, geological, geotechnical, archaeological, and biological surveys) Subsequent site assessment activities (e.g., construction and operation of meteorological towers and/or buoys) Subsequent site assessment activities (e.g., construction and operation of meteorological towers and/or buoys)

7 RI/MA Wind Energy Area

8 Standard Operating Conditions Based on previous consultations Based on previous consultations Part of the proposed action or “in place” Part of the proposed action or “in place” Developed to reduce or eliminate the potential environmental risks and include: Developed to reduce or eliminate the potential environmental risks and include: Seasonal prohibition of pile driving (Nov-April) Seasonal prohibition of pile driving (Nov-April) Avoidance of potential archaeological resources Avoidance of potential archaeological resources Reduced vessel speeds Reduced vessel speeds Minimum separation from marine mammals and sea turtles Minimum separation from marine mammals and sea turtles

9 Alternative B Exclusion for North Atlantic Right Whales

10 Alternative C Exclusion of 15 nmi from Inhabited Massachusetts Coast

11 Alternative D Exclusion of 21 nmi from Inhabited Massachusetts Coast

12 Alternative E Exclusion for Telecommunications Cables

13 Alternative F No Action No wind energy leases would be issued and no site assessment activities would be approved in the WEA at this time. No wind energy leases would be issued and no site assessment activities would be approved in the WEA at this time. Data needed to successfully determine the feasibility of potential proposed lease areas for commercial wind energy development would not be collected. Data needed to successfully determine the feasibility of potential proposed lease areas for commercial wind energy development would not be collected.

14 Conclusions With standard operating conditions in place, no reasonably foreseeable significant impacts identified With standard operating conditions in place, no reasonably foreseeable significant impacts identified Negligible to minor impacts expected Negligible to minor impacts expected

15 Mandatory Consultations National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Endangered Species Act (ESA) Endangered Species Act (ESA) Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Essential Fish Habitat (EFH)) Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Essential Fish Habitat (EFH))

16 Next Steps Based on the nature and extent of comments received, we may: Publish a Finding No Significant Impacts (FONSI); Publish a Finding No Significant Impacts (FONSI); Revise the EA; or Revise the EA; or Determine that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required. Determine that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required.

17 How to Comment Comment period closes August 2, 2012 Comment period closes August 2, 2012 On use Keyword : BOEM– 2012–0048 On use Keyword : BOEM– 2012–0048www.regulations.gov In written form either by hand or by mail: In written form either by hand or by mail: Program Manager Office of Renewable Energy Programs Bureau of Ocean Energy Management 381 Elden Street, HM 1328 Herndon, Virginia 20170–4817

18 Contact Jennifer Kilanski, Environmental Protection Specialist


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