Auction scheduled for lease rights for wind farm, Fishermen seeking to block

wind-farm-nyThe lease rights to develop a wind-energy farm on 79,350 acres of ocean 11.5 miles from Jones Beach could be granted by federal regulators this week. But the online bidding is only the start of a process that could take seven years or more, officials said. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, a division of the Department of the Interior created by President Obama in 2010 to facilitate energy independence and accelerate wind-energy efforts, has said it will start the Thursday auction with an opening bid of $158,700, or around $2 per acre. The long-awaited path to that auction had seemed clear until fishing groups, including the largest commercial fishing association on Long Island, filed suit on Thursday seeking to block it, alleging the project of 194 turbines would hinder access to vital fishing grounds. A hearing on a request for a temporary restraining order and injunction has been scheduled for Dec. 14, a day before the auction, before U.S. District Court Judge Tanya S. Chutkan. But attorneys for both sides appear to have worked out an agreement that would let the auction go forward but give fishing groups 14 days’ notice before any final lease is executed. It awaits a judge’s approval. Read the rest here 09:02