Tag Archives: BOEM

Offshore wind rush is irresponsible, Turbine farms threaten the future of fishing

In an April opinion piece, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wrote that “affordable, reliable, and abundant American energy drives domestic jobs and prosperity.” If by “drives domestic jobs and prosperity” Zinke meant “threatens the very existence of New England fishermen,” then the East Farm Commercial Fisheries Center of Rhode Island (which represents Rhode Island commercial fishermen) would agree.,,, The rush to approve and build these massive projects is irresponsible. The survival of the fishing industry is now dependent on a review process that has been kicked into high gear and is lacking the research and data necessary to make informed and balanced decisions. For example, in its haste to approve these massive projects, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management significantly underestimated the intensity of the fishing effort taking place in the Vineyard Wind project area and seriously undervalued the fisheries, especially the squid fishery. As a result, Vineyard Wind plans to construct its project in a prime squid fishing area. >click to read<08:01

Washington must come to grips with offshore wind conflicts

Offshore wind energy developers have momentum building for them in East Coast waters. But other maritime industries want to ease up on the throttle. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management recently held another round of public meetings in New Jersey and New York, gathering information for what could be a future round of lease offerings in the New York Bight. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke has promised to help fast track future permitting. .,,, Commercial fishermen have a case in federal court over the Statoil lease, and litigation seems certain to reignite.  “We have the Magnuson Act (federal fisheries law) because we want to have American fishing grounds for American fishermen,” said Meghan Lapp, fisheries liaison for fishing company Seafreeze Ltd., North Kingstown, R.I. “BOEM is plowing ahead regardless. They have not slowed down.” >click to read<22:42

N.J. Governor asks feds for six-month extension to assess impact of offshore wind farms on state’s main fishing grounds

Gov. Phil Murphy is asking the federal government to extend the public comment period on proposed new lease sales for offshore wind in the New York Bight, a step that could delay the process for up to six months. In a letter to Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior, the governor requested more time (180 days) because the areas in New York under consideration for wind-energy development include New Jersey’s main fishing grounds, including two that are closest to its coast. >click to read<08:44

Plans For Offshore Wind Energy Draw Criticism At Hearing In Southampton On Monday

“We know the moment [the federal government] gets a taste of wind farms in the Atlantic, we are going to be playing whack-a-mole with energy and oil companies creeping up on our fishing grounds,” Bonnie Brady said at a presentation by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, or NYSERDA, on Monday night at the Southampton Inn. Ms. Brady, executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association in Montauk, said that, like other commercial fishermen in the audience, she worries that the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, or BOEM, which has jurisdiction over the Atlantic, will lease more ocean for wind energy development and wind up hurting the industry.>click to read<16:01

New Bedford Port Authority, Mass Division of Marine Fisheries, NOAA weigh in through public comments regarding offshore wind

The New Bedford Port Authority, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and NOAA all filed written public comments regarding Vineyard Wind’s Environment Impact Statement. The deadline to file public comments was April 30. All three agencies cited concerns regarding offshore wind’s presence within an important region for commercial fishing as well as marine life that could be affected beyond the acute area. >click to read<10:43

A thousand days later, why is NOAA still dithering on allowing seismic surveys?

It has been more than a thousand days since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries accepted as “final and complete” the Incidental Harassment Authorization, or IHA, applications needed to take seismic surveys off the Atlantic Coast. Considering that the Marine Mammal Protection Act, or MMPA, requires agencies to issue decisions within 120 days after deeming IHA applications complete, this delay is a shocking policy failure. (This is an oil industry article, with a link to NMFS AA Chris Oliver’s testimony.) >click to read<15:50

Plans to line the shore of Rhode Island with wind turbines threaten fishermen livelihoods

When Greg Mataronas steams out of Narragansett Bay as early as 3 a.m., he is headed for grounds he knew as an eight-year-old.,,  there is a new force threatening Mataronas’ ability to provide for his wife and children: offshore wind energy.,,, “All of our concerns fall on deaf ears,” Lapp said. “I personally have been meeting with BOEM for three years.” Lapp added that she gave “confidential business information” from over 20 fishing vessels to BOEM to demonstrate that there was heavy fishing activity on one particular lease site, but she said BOEM issued the lease regardless. >click to read<10:29

Fishermen air concerns about Vineyard Wind

Looking to create a sea change in energy production in Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker signed “An Act to Promote Energy Diversity” with overwhelming bipartisan support in 2016. A key provision of the legislation mandated that utilities solicit long-term contracts with offshore wind farm developers, with the goal of adding 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2027. Fast-forward to Tuesday night, at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center, where federal and state officials, along with representatives from Vineyard Wind, gathered for a “scoping session” to hear how Islanders feel about having the first large-scale offshore wind farm in the United States – 106 turbines, 700 feet tall, spaced about a mile apart, covering 167,000 acres>click to read<15:47

Fishermen fear fallout from proposed wind farm project

Comments surrounding Vineyard Wind’s offshore wind projects filled the Waypoint Convention Room on Monday night and they came from a diverse group ranging from climate change deniers to environmentalists. But the main discussion revolved around jobs. Fishermen strongly criticized the process with one saying he feared Europeans would commandeer all the jobs associated with offshore winds. >click to read<08:43

Series of Public Hearings on Offshore Wind Starts in New Bedford – >click to read<10:02

How fishermen could thwart Cuomo’s offshore wind master plan

In the mist off New England’s coast, towering alien monoliths pierce the surging waters, soaring 600 to 850 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. Hundreds of these titans, rising up to 200 feet taller than Trump Tower, chop the air with massive blades that are taller than Albany’s Capitol building. Offshore wind turbines like these, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says, are a critical part of his clean energy mandate to generate 50 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable energy. But those humble fishermen are threatening to derail the governor’s goals with a federal lawsuit they believe is their last best shot to save their livelihoods. >click to read<21:41

Offshore Wind States Beware

Off of the shore of Block Island on the Rhode Island coast, five wind turbines are operating and supplying power to the island. It took years of state and federal policymaking, environmental impact assessments, and town hall meetings for the 30-megawatt wind farm to come to fruition due to its cost and degradation of vistas. It cost $300 million—$10,000 per kilowatt—about 10 times more than the cost of a new natural gas combined cycle unit. Further, it is 55 percent more costly than what the Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects a first-of-a-kind offshore wind unit to cost—$6,454 per kilowatt. In terms of generation costs, EIA expects a new offshore wind farm to be 3 times more expensive than an onshore wind farm. And now, fishermen >click to read<08:16

Offshore drilling foes, denied microphone, hold rallies

With giant inflatable whales, signs that read “Drilling Is Killing” and chants of “Where’s our meeting?” opponents of President Donald Trump’s plan to open most of the nation’s coastline to oil and natural gas drilling have staged boisterous rallies before public meetings held by the federal government on the topic. That’s because the public cannot speak to the assembled attendees at the meetings. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is meeting one on one with interested parties and allows people to comment online, including typing comments on laptops it provides. People also can hand bureau officials written comments to be included in the record. What they can’t do is get up at a microphone and address the room. >click to read< 08:29

SMAST meeting brings fishing, offshore wind in the same room

Offshore wind developers spent the majority of a 3-hour meeting Monday attempting to win over the local commercial fishing industry. For much of he meeting, the fishermen in attendance rolled their eyes, scoffed at various PowerPoint slides and even went as far as to say offshore wind is unwanted. “Nobody wanted this,” one fisherman out of Point Judith said. “Nobody wanted problems.  We are assured there would be none. And here we are.” Twenty members of the Fisheries Working Group on Offshore Wind Energy sat around a table at SMAST East hoping to solve various issues between the two ocean-based industries. >click to read< 18:09 

2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program Public Meetings Scheduled Nationwide

Public meetings will take place across the country using an open-house format, so participants can arrive any time during the scheduled meeting time. At the meetings, participants can ask questions, share information, talk with our team members one-on-one, and learn more about the National OCS Program. We also encourage participants to submit written comments to inform BOEM of specific issues, impacting factors, environmental resources, alternatives to the proposed action, and mitigation measures to consider in its analyses. For those unable to attend one of the scheduled meetings, BOEM is offering a Virtual Meeting Room where participants can visit the same stations available at the open house meetings. There they are able to review and download the same handouts and posters offered at the meetings and provide comments. >click for times, dates, and locations<15:36

Fishing Industry Takes More Action Against New York Offshore Wind Lease

A group of fishing organizations, businesses and communities, led by the Fisheries Survival Fund (FSF), has taken more action to halt the lease of Statoil’s planned wind farm off the coast of New York. The suit, filed against the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), is seeking summary judgment and requesting the court to invalidate the lease, which was awarded to Norwegian firm Statoil to develop the New York Wind Energy Area (NY WEA) late last year. click here to read the story 13:23

Industrializing the Ocean – Floating Wind Plan Could Finally Crack California’s Offshore Market

A Seattle startup has proposed what could be the world’s largest floating offshore wind farm on a site 33 miles northwest of Morro Bay, anchoring in place around 60 to 100 turbines capable of delivering as much as one gigawatt of electricity into California’s grid.,,, Morro Bay’s roughly 10,000 residents are also divided over the project, and not just because of worries about eyesores on the shoreline. The local commercial-fishing trade group, representing the town’s second-largest industry after tourism, has expressed concerns about losing its territory. click here to read the story 15:09

Not exactly a breeze: Offshore wind still faces challenges

Amid all of the challenges that could face offshore wind power along the East Coast — legal disputes from commercial fishing advocates, construction plans altered by whale migrations, President Donald Trump’s emphasis on revitalizing fossil fuels and more — some promising news for renewable industry supporters arrived in mid-March. That’s when a telling indication of how offshore wind power might fare under President Trump was delivered, after an uncertain, wait-and-see winter. Following months of silence about offshore wind, a statement by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke gave an early glimpse of the administration’s tone. click here to read the story 09:22

BOEM: Offshore wind farms impact ‘small’ on fishing

The development of offshore wind farms in the US Atlantic will have a minimal impact on commercial fishing, according to a new report from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). The BOEM report – ‘Socio-Economic Impact of Outer Continental Shelf Wind Energy Development on Fisheries in the US Atlantic – has been produced in conjunction with the National Marine Fisheries Service to better understand fishing activity in areas of potential offshore wind development. The only impact will be on permitted vessels using pots and gillnets in Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts, which could result in losses of up to $517,000, it found. However, the impacts are not distributed evenly with 20 permits fishing out of Rhode Island ports of Narragansett and Newport and Massachusetts ports of New Bedford and Fairhaven affected the most. link 11:53

Legal Fight in New York Offshore Wind Farm Case Continues on Merits; Request for Preliminary Injunction Denied

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia decided late Wednesday not to grant a preliminary injunction in the lawsuit brought by a host of fishing communities, associations and businesses led by scallop industry trade group the Fisheries Survival Fund against the impending leasing of the New York Wind Energy Area to Statoil Wind of Norway. The suit alleges the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) leasing process did not adequately consider the impact of wind power development in the waters off Long Island, New York on the region’s fishermen. The fishing industry asked that the court temporarily halt BOEM from proceeding with the final ratification of a lease on the area, which was preliminarily awarded to Statoil, Norway’s state oil company, for $42.5 million. “Getting a preliminary injunction granted is difficult, given the high standards that the court applies,” said Mayor Kirk Larson of Barnegat Light, N.J., one of the plaintiffs in the case. “But our case will continue, and we are confident that we will succeed on the merits.” Continue reading the article here 17:55

Fishing Industry Fights N.Y. Offshore Wind Area In Court

Lawyers representing a host of fishing communities, associations and businesses – led by scallop industry trade group the Fisheries Survival Fund – argued in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., yesterday against an offshore wind lease sale off the coast of Long Island, N.Y. A ruling is expected in the coming days, according to a press release from the Fisheries Survival Fund. The plaintiffs are seeking a preliminary injunction against the wind farm lease that the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) preliminarily awarded to Statoil for $42.5 million at an auction in December. They argued that the site of the project is in the middle of important fishing grounds, particularly for the scallop and squid fisheries. They also claimed that allowing the “unlawful” lease sale to go through would cause “irreparable harm to commercial fishermen.” Read the story here 07:31

Feds to auction 122,000 acres in North Carolina for wind energy

“Today’s announcement demonstrates how our collaborative efforts with Federal, state and local partners over the past eight years have built a foundation to harness the enormous potential of offshore wind energy,” said Secretary Jewell. “The lease sale underscores the growing market demand for renewable energy and strong industry interest in meeting that demand.” The Kitty Hawk lease sale is the latest effort in the Obama Administration’s renewable energy program at the U.S. Department of the Interior, which recently marked the operational launch of the nation’s first offshore wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island, and the lease sale for over 79,000 acres offshore New York. To date, BOEM has held six competitive lease sales, which have generated over $58 million in high bids for more than one million acres in federal waters. Read the rest here 09:05

South Atlantic Region Offshore oil surveys to start as seismic testing opposition grows

5807cfdaa90fb-imageNearly a half million commercial fishing families have joined the opposition to seismic testing for oil and natural gas in the Atlantic Ocean, according to a South Carolina-based business chamber. Meanwhile, a first, non-seismic survey is set to start.  The families, numbering more than 400,000, are part of a coastal residents and business movement that has coalesced into the tens of thousands in South Carolina alone. More than 100 Atlantic coastal communities, thousands of businesses and more than 1,000 elected officials also have called on President Barack Obama to stop the testing, according to South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce and Oceana, an environmental advocate. Meanwhile the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management continues to process permit applications from seven probe applicants, including six that want to search in waters off South Carolina. “BOEM is currently in the process of reviewing those permits. Before the permits can be issued, careful environmental analysis is done to ensure the safety of the marine ecosystem,” spokeswoman Caryl Fagot said. Read the story here 09:26

BOEM releases draft plan for Lower Cook Inlet oil leasing

boem derrickResidents of Anchor Point, Homer and Seldovia could see drilling rigs off their coasts in the future if the federal Department of the Interior gives it the green light. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the federal agency that oversees offshore drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf, has issued a draft environmental impact statement for oil and gas exploratory leases in Lower Cook Inlet. The proposed leasing area stretches from approximately Ninilchik to just north of Augustine Island, not including Kachemak Bay. The state oversees oil and gas leases on lands within 3 nautical miles of shore, and the federal government has jurisdiction on lands past that. There are currently no rigs in Alaska in federal waters, said John Callahan, a spokesman for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Read the rest here 12:30

East Coast Fishermen voice objections over plan for wind farm off New York coast

A long-stalled plan to build a forest of power-producing windmills off the coast of New York may finally be gathering momentum, and that is sparking concern among commercial fishermen who fear the giant turbines will ruin an area rich with scallops and other sea life. Federal officials announced earlier this month that they would auction off the rights to build the wind power farm on a 127-square-mile wedge of the Atlantic Ocean. The tip of the wedge begins about 11 miles south of Long Island’s popular Jones Beach and spreads out across an area, sandwiched between major shipping lanes, where trawlers harvest at least $3.3 million worth of sea scallops each year, as well as smaller amounts of mackerel, squid and other species, according to a study commissioned by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. “There’s got to be a better place,” said Eric Hansen, a scallop fisherman based in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Read the rest here 08:39

Obama Administration Approves Resumption of California Offshore Fracking

Obama BPClaiming that fracking poses “no significant impact” to the environment, Obama administration officials on May 27 finalized their plans to allow oil companies to resume offshore fracking and acidizing in California’s Santa Barbara Channel. The announcement from the two agencies responsible for oil drilling, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Management (BOEM) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), ended a court-ordered settlement placing a moratorium on offshore fracking and acidizing for oil in the fish and wildlife-rich federal waters off California. The two agencies reported they have completed a comprehensive environmental analysis evaluating the potential impacts from the use of “well stimulation treatments” – acidizing and fracking operations — on the 23 oil and gas platforms currently in operation on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore California. Dan Bacher,  Read the rest here 08:13

Aging oil rigs spark debate: removal or reef?

Twenty-three rigs sit in federal waters off California’s coast, nearing the end of their life spans. BOEM expects them to soon stop producing oil — and, technically, federal leases require companies to completely remove decommissioned rigs. The California Marine Resources Legacy Act provides a loophole, allowing companies an exemption if there is a “net” environmental benefit to leaving the rigs as reefs. To proponents, the option is a win-win: The fish get to live, and companies will donate some of their significant savings to marine conservation. The debate often centers on a scientific question: Do rigs provide beneficial habitat, or do they just attract marine life passing through? Read the rest here 16:54

Feds halt South Atlantic offshore drilling leases , but not seismic testing

There were public expressions of surprise, relief and victory from environmental groups and local officials after the U.S. Department of Interior’s March 15 announcement that there would be no offshore drilling leases in the Atlantic Ocean for the 2017-2022 period. But for drilling opponents and environmental advocates, that celebration has been tempered somewhat by news that, even without drilling, the process of awarding permits for seismic testing in the Atlantic will go ahead — and could lead to such testing later this year. Read the rest here 13:07

Rescheduled for 4 pm Friday Join Us: Phone Call with BOEM Director on New York Offshore Wind

cape-wind-power-farm-b1
In response to numerous requests from the fishing community, the phone call with BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper has been rescheduled, as shown below. To access the Department of Interior’s press release to announce that BOEM has defined a Wind Energy Area offshore New York, Read Wind Energy Area defines more than 81,000 acres offshore New York for potential wind energy development click here.

PASSCODE: Offshore
07:58

Bipartisan group opposes oil exploration off Georgia

thumbnail-cca182d6f5278d056c24c2d569236ac8-620x330Led by U.S. Reps Mark Sanford, R-S.C., and Bobby Scott, D-Va., a bipartisan group of 33 house members last week sent a letter to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management opposing seismic testing for offshore oil. U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, the Republican freshman whose district spans the Georgia Coast, did not sign on. The letter requested a halt to the permitting and review process for potential seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean from Virginia through Georgia. Read the article here 16:45

Study: Offshore wind’s impacts on fisheries unclear; federal report calls for more research

AR-151209750.jpg&MaxW=650Advocates for regional fishing industries and marine life are concerned about the impacts of offshore wind turbines as deep-pocketed, experienced developers eye construction in ocean waters south of Martha’s Vineyard. The offshore wind industry has been touted as a key piece of New Bedford’s economic future, but advocates’ concerns are reflected in a federal report that says little is known about how turbines could affect fish populations. State Rep. Patricia Haddad, D-Somerset, is sponsoring energy legislation that includes intended to boost turbine development. Read the article here 17:27