Tag Archives: bureau-of-ocean-energy-management

Possible wind farm sites 17 miles off Hamptons identified

A federal agency has identified a swath of the South Shore 17 miles off the coast of the Hamptons as a potential area for new offshore wind farms. If selected, the site would encompass 211,839 acres of ocean waters 15 nautical miles from land, from Center Moriches to Montauk.,,, LIPA has approved a 90-megawatt project off the coast of Rhode Island, New York State has a plan to inject 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind into the state grid, and Norwegian energy giant Statoil has a lease for more than 70,000 acres 15 miles from Long Beach for an offshore wind farm that could be completed by 2024. click here to read the story 12:43

New Bedford meeting brings wind, fishing industries together

Jim Kendall painted the city’s streets with snow when he articulated how fishermen may feel about offshore wind during a meeting Wednesday that brought both sides together. As a child on SouthCoast, Kendall spent his snows days sledding on the streets. “You just can’t do stuff like that anymore,” he said. He’s seen the same influx in traffic on the ocean in his evolution from fisherman to fishermen representative for Vineyard Wind. Time has added stock limits, marine monuments and the latest is offshore wind. More traffic equates to more difficulty fishing. click here to read the story 11:08

Congress Picks Sides on Trump Plan to Expand Offshore Drilling

President Donald Trump’s plan to expand offshore oil drilling spurred dueling letters from members of Congress last week, 118 of whom say the plan is critical for U.S. energy security, while 69 others doubt it — plus nearly 18,000 letters of public comment, most of them opposing expanded drilling. Only 6 percent of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf is available for leasing to oil and gas drillers from 2017 to 2022, under a drilling plan completed in the final days of President Barack Obama’s presidency. The shelf is 1.7 billion acres of submerged federal land from 3 nautical miles off the coastline, state-regulated waters, to 200 nautical miles out. click here to read the story 11:06

Christie gets it right on off-shore drilling, Virginia’s governor, not so much

In an Aug. 16 letter to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin made clear the Christie administration does not support offshore drilling, rejecting the Trump administration’s commitment to expand off-shore energy exploration. click here to read the op-ed Then, there’s this. Virginia Opts Out of Offshore Lease Program –The Governor in the U.S. state of Virginia has changed his mind about offshore drilling.,,The letter says that with the Trump administration’s “reckless actions” regarding oil revenue-sharing with coastal states and the proposed cuts to funding for regulatory environmental agencies, “Virginia is left with only one option.” click here to read the story  In Virginia, its all about the money. 12:52

Central Coast should look to Rhode Island for bad experience with wind turbines  

Our commercial fishermen met with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the bureau plans on putting hundreds of wind turbines off our coastline, taking hundreds of square miles of ocean away from fishing. We spoke with fishermen on the East Coast that had five wind turbines installed off Rhode Island, and they had nothing good to say. The installation required huge cement slabs on the bottom. The blades cause radar interference for miles. They are in squid and scallop fishing grounds, costing hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars lost to Rhode Island. They are placing them in navigation lanes, causing shipping vessels to travel around them. Also, most of the time they don’t work! They need repair constantly, and if the wind blows over 50 mph, they have to shut them down! They are being federally subsidized by millions of taxpayer dollars to mainly companies from other countries! It’s costing four times the amount it costs them for natural gas-powered electricity. Gov. Jerry Brown thinks using our oceans for energy is what we need. He is wrong. The ocean is a food source. It is wild and powerful and is not meant for industrialization. Tom Hafer, Atascadero link 09:19

Offshore drilling opponents re-gear for new round of battles

A little more than a month after seismic blast testing for oil and natural gas was stopped offshore of South Carolina, exploration companies are gearing up for a new try. A dozen anti-drilling advocates met Tuesday in Charleston to discuss expanding the opposition. They may look inland for more support in the vein of the massive coastal protest that in 2016 helped derail plans for testing and drilling. Frank Knapp, founder of the anti-drilling Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast, said he has heard the exploration industry is planning to approach the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management about reversing a testing permit denial adopted during the last days of the Obama administration. Knapp’s group represents more than 35,000 businesses and 500,000 commercial fishing families from Maine to Florida. Continue reading the story here 17:58

Study: Seismic Testing Disrupts Fish Behavior

Almost anyone who’s thrown a hook in the water to catch a fish in a quiet atmosphere probably knows intuitively that loud noises spook them: you don’t scream at fish to bite, after all, you wait patiently. But intuition isn’t science, and seismic airguns don’t make just any loud noise, so when University of North Carolina Institute of Marine Sciences doctoral student Avery Paxton and some colleagues got the opportunity to do some real science on an issue that’s germane to the hot topic of oil and gas exploration by seismic surveys, they jumped at the chance. What they found, back in September 2014 when they did a study during a U.S. Geological Survey seismic mapping effort in the Atlantic Ocean off Beaufort Inlet, not only confirmed intuition, but surprised them in its degree: 78 percent of the fish on a reef near the seismic survey “went missing,” compared to counts at the same time the three previous days during the evening hours, the peak time for fish, such as snapper, grouper and angelfish, to gather there. Continue reading the article here 10:27

Decision on preliminary injunction on offshore sale in ‘coming days’

A US court is expected to issue a ruling in the coming days on a lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction against the development of the up to 1GW New York offshore wind farm lease area. The Fisheries Survival Fund (FSF), which represents the majority of the limited access Atlantic scallop fleet, is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit that alleges the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) leasing process did not adequately consider the impact of wind power development on the region’s fishermen. The plaintiffs, which also include the Garden State Seafood Association and the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, argue that allowing the lease sale to go through would cause irreparable harm to commercial fishermen. Norwegian oil major Statoil won the December auction for the right to develop the 32,000-hectare site off the coast of Long Island with a bid of $42.5m. BOEM has delayed execution of the lease until the court has ruled on the preliminary injunction. Link 09:33

Statoil: Fishermen lobby for new spot for proposed Long Island wind farm

In Joe Gilbert’s view, fishermen like him shouldn’t have to compete with wind farms for a piece of the ocean. “We’re not anti-wind farm,” Gilbert said this past week. “But we don’t want to trade one renewable resource — fish — for another one — wind. They can both exist.” Gilbert is the owner of Empire Fisheries, which has four scallop and squid fishing boats based at the Town Dock. He’s also a member of the board of the Fisheries Survival Fund, one of 12 fishermen groups from New England to New Jersey opposing the federal government’s recent approval of a provisional lease to a Norwegian company that proposes to develop a wind farm on 79,350 acres of ocean bottom about 13 miles south of Jones Beach in Hempstead, Long Island. “What we’re asking is that it be relocated,” said Meghan Lapp, fisheries liaison with Sea Freeze, a squid wholesaler based in North Kingstown, R.I., that has joined the Fisheries Survival Fund in challenging the wind farm plan. The site of the proposed wind farm, fishermen say, is one of the most productive squid and scallop fishing areas in the North Atlantic. But the long trawling nets used by these fisheries could not maneuver within a “pinball machine of structures” that would constitute the wind farm, Lapp said. “It would be too dangerous.” Read the story here 09:01

Feds Take Controversial Mid and South Atlantic Seismic Air Gun Testing Off Table

Federal officials announced on Friday a controversial plan to allow dangerous seismic air gun testing in a vast section off the mid-Atlantic coast including an area as close as 20 miles off the coast of Ocean City has been removed from consideration. With a proposal to lease a vast area totaling roughly three million acres off the mid-Atlantic coast to offshore drilling for oil and natural gas reserves already taken off the table last spring, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced on Friday a companion plan to open the same area to seismic airgun testing has been denied. Seismic airgun testing is used to determine what oil and natural gas reserves lie beneath the ocean floor. However, once the plan to allow offshore drilling off the mid-Atlantic coast was removed from consideration, at least for the next five years, BOEM officials determined there was no good reason to allow potentially dangerous seismic testing in the same areas off the mid-Atlantic coast including Ocean City and Assateague, for example. Read the story here 10:12

East Coast Fishermen: not so fast with that wind farm  

Could sea scallops and longfin squid be reason enough to stop an offshore wind farm on the coast of New York and New Jersey? The Fisheries Survival Fund, which represents the majority of the U.S. Atlantic scallop industry, claims the site picked for the farm is on documented fishing grounds for both commercially important species. It claims the wind turbines would shut fishermen out. The group is the lead plaintiff in a federal lawsuit filed against the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and Sally Jewell, the secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The BOEM has jurisdiction over the sea floor. Other plaintiffs include the Garden State Seafood Association, the Fishermen’s Dock Co-Operative in Point Pleasant Beach and the Borough of Barnegat Light. Read the story here 09:51

Statoil Wins Offshore Wind Lease in NY for cheap money

With Statoil being the provisional victor, the Norwegian giant said it will now have the opportunity to explore the potential development of an offshore wind farm to provide New York City and Long Island with a significant, long-term source of renewable electricity. Statoil Winds U.S. LLC bid almost $42.5 million for the rights to almost 80,000 acres of water beginning 12 miles from the coast. Statoil subsidiary Statoil Wind US LLC must pass federal agency reviews before it can open a one-year preliminary lease – and a hearing in U.S. District Court, where a February 8 date has been set to hear commercial fishermen’s motion for an injunction against the lease. The auction covered 79,350 acres of ocean real estate – roughly 127 square miles – between the southern Long Island and northern New Jersey coasts, and as the saying goes, things accelerated fast: Statoil Wind’s winning bid of $42.46 million was a far cry from the $158,700 (roughly $2 per acre) opening bid required by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Read the rest here 08:27

Alternative Energy Collides With Fishermen’s Livelihood Off Long Island

The federal government on Thursday plans to auction off a parcel of 79,000 acres in the Atlantic Ocean just south of Long Island to build a wind farm over fishing grounds that scallop and squid fishermen say are vital to their trade. Bidders hope to secure a 25-year lease to operate a wind farm, to sell the electricity to energy-hungry Long Island and the New York City region. Offshore wind is a big part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan for New York to get half of its energy from alternative sources by 2030. But the commercial fishing industry opposes building wind turbines on this particular stretch of the Atlantic Ocean, which is sandwiched between shipping lanes into and out of the New York harbor. “We are very afraid we are going to lock up an area of the bottom that is definitely favorable for scallop settlement,” said James Gutowski, a scallop fisherman from Barnegat Light, N.J., and chairman of the Fisheries Survival Fund. Members of the fishing industry say the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management didn’t adequately consider what the impact would have on scallop and squid fishing grounds. Read the story here 08:24

Proposed Atlantic wind energy lease auction to proceed

new-york-wind-energy-area-boem-webThe federal government’s plan to auction the development rights to a huge offshore windfarm in the Atlantic Ocean between New York and New Jersey will proceed Thursday. Groups representing the fishing industry in four states sought to delay the auction. But an agreement between the groups and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will allow it to proceed. A lawyer for the fishing groups says they still will be able to seek a halt to the final sale during a federal court proceeding now scheduled for Feb. 8, 2017. Andrew Minkiewicz says the delay gives both sides more time to submit documents. A judge in Washington, D.C., agreed to the plan Monday. The groups, including scallop fishermen, claim the 127-square-mile project would harm their business. link 20:20

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

Scallop & Fishing Industry, Municipalities, Sue Feds to Ensure Seafood Interests Are Considered in NY Bight Wind Energy Project

new-york-wind-energy-area-boem-webThe Fisheries Survival Fund (FSF), which represents the majority of the limited access Atlantic scallop fleet, is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction to delay an anticipated lease sale for the development of a 26-mile long wind farm project approximately 11 miles off the coast of Long Island, scheduled for December 15, 2016. The story was broken today by the Associated Press.,, The filing alleges that the leasing process for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) did not adequately consider the impact the proposed New York Wind Energy Area would have on the region’s fishermen. The site chosen for the 127 square mile wind farm is in the waters of the New York Bight on vital, documented scallop and squid fishing grounds,,,The lawsuit argues that fishermen’s concerns regarding the location of the lease area received “virtually no attention or analysis” from government officials ahead of the planned December 15 lease sale, despite fishing stakeholders repeatedly making their concerns known. Read the story here 11:40

Jewell Announces Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing Plan for 2017-2022

jewell3_small-jpg-306x313After considering more than 3.3 million public comments and holding 36 public meetings, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Abigail Hopper today released the final plan to guide future energy development for the Nation’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) for 2017-2022. The plan takes a balanced approach to best meet the nation’s energy needs by including areas offshore with high resource potential and mature infrastructure while protecting regions with critical ecological resources. The Proposed Final Program offers 11 potential lease sales in four planning areas – 10 sales in the portions of three Gulf of Mexico Program Areas that are not under moratorium and one sale off the coast of Alaska in the Cook Inlet Program Area.Areas off the Atlantic coast are not included in this program. After an extensive public input process, the lease sale that was proposed in the Draft Proposed Program in the Mid- and South Atlantic area was removed during the earlier Proposed Program stage of the process due to current market dynamics, strong local opposition and conflicts with competing commercial and military ocean uses. Read the press release here   16:32

U.S. to Auction 79,000 Acres Offshore New York for Wind Energy

wind farmThe United States Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced that 79,350 acres offshore New York will be offered in a December 15 commercial wind lease sale. The New York Wind Energy Area starts approximately 11.5 nautical miles from Jones Beach, New York, on Long Island. From its western edge, the area extends approximately 24 miles southeast at its longest portion. The lease area consists of five full Outer Continental Shelf blocks and 143 sub-blocks. After reviewing comments received on the environmental assessment, BOEM removed about 1,780 acres from the lease area due to environmental concerns regarding a seafloor feature known as the Cholera Bank. In a comment letter, the National Marine Fisheries Service identified the Cholera Bank feature as a sensitive habitat to be avoided for the placement of structures. As a result of this removal, the revised lease area will be approximately two percent smaller than the lease area considered in the proposed sale notice. In response to concerns raised by commercial fishing interests, BOEM also has included a lease requirement for the lessee to develop a publicly available fisheries communications plan and work with a fisheries liaison to facilitate communication with the fishing industry. Read the rest here 16:09

Department of the Interior to auction over 79,000 acres offshore New York for wind development

U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Abigail Ross Hopper announced that 79,350 acres offshore New York will be offered in a December 15 commercial wind-lease sale. The New York Wind Energy Area starts approximately 11.5 nautical miles (nm) from Jones Beach, NY. From its western edge, the area extends approximately 24 nm southeast at its longest portion. The lease area consists of five full Outer Continental Shelf blocks and 143 sub-blocks. After reviewing comments received on the Environmental Assessment, BOEM removed about 1,780 acres from the lease area due to environmental concerns regarding a seafloor feature known as the Cholera Bank. In a comment letter, the National Marine Fisheries Service identified the Cholera Bank feature as a sensitive habitat to be avoided for the placement of structures. As a result of this removal, the revised lease area will be approximately two percent smaller than the lease area considered in the Proposed Sale Notice. Read the rest here 13:55

N.J. fishermen fear loss of huge underwater sand hill, the Manasquan Ridge

636046139195754361-ridgeThe appearance of the 123-foot offshore supply vessel Scarlett Isabella on the Manasquan Ridge is a bad omen to Capt. Jim Lovgren, a Point Pleasant Beach commercial fishermen. The Scarlett was in the hire of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which is looking for potential sand on the outer continental shelf that could be pumped up onto the Jersey beach. Tampering with these sand beds, which are long-established fishing areas, could reshape the fishing communities at the Shore, fishermen say. The ridge, which starts to rise off the ocean floor 5 ½ miles southeast of Manasquan Inlet, is one of those potential resources of sand. “Last year word was that Manasquan Ridge was a last resort for beach replenishment use. The fact that they are paying a survey vessel to crisscross it clearly says something different,” said Lovgren, who sits on the Executive Board of the Garden State Seafood Association. Fishermen have been weary of a conflict with the Army Corps of Engineers over the ridge, and others nearby, which they depend on to hold fish. Read the story here 17:48

BP spill cost fishing industry at least $94.7 million to $1.6 billion from May through December 2010

Deepwater-Horizon-April-21-2010.-REUTERSThe BP oil spill may have cost the Gulf of Mexico’s commercial fishing industry between $94.7 million and $1.6 billion and between 740 and 9,315 jobs from May to December 2010, according a study released Wednesday (June 22)  by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The study, conducted by The Vertex Companies of Boston, Mass., measured the impact of the spill during the same period of time that is being used to calculate claims being paid to fishermen under a 2012 court-approved settlement agreement between private parties and BP. The three-year study cost $355,888. Louisiana’s commercial fishing industry bore the brunt of the costs of the spill, compared to  the four other Gulf states, the report found, with the highest costs affecting the catch of shrimp, oysters, crabs and menhaden. Read the rest here 10:34

Two companies have proposed offshore wind farms in Hawaii

floating windmillThe federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the agency that would decide whether to approve ocean leases for the projects, held a meeting about the proposals Monday. Among concerns raised so far is the potential danger that whales or submarines could bump into the cords anchoring the turbines to the ocean floor, said Henry Curtis, executive director of Life of the Land, a Hawaii nonprofit organization. “Do you want to really turn the ocean into the next industrial site?” Curtis asked. Some fishermen are concerned about the possible impact on birds flying over the sea. “The best fish spotters we have are birds,” said Ron Tam, secretary of the Hawaii Fishermen’s Alliance for Conservation and Tradition. “And then, are we going to be able to fish in and about and through these floating machines? We don’t know…That has a definite economic impact.” Read the rest here 11:42

Bi Partisan push to stop East Coast Oil/Gas Exploration

Oil-Rig640U.S. Rep Mark Sanford and nearly three dozen fellow House members increased pressure Thursday to curtail the search for oil and gas off the Atlantic coast because of environmental and economic concerns. In a letter Thursday to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s director, the House members said using seismic testing “is an enormously disruptive activity in the ocean’’ that could hurt both and endangered whales. Read the article here  15:26

Fishermen’s Energy Loses Bid for Wind Farm Leases Off LBI

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management held an offshore land lease sale for the purposes of developing future wind farms on Monday, Nov. 9.  Although a locally held company, Fishermen’s Energy, participated in the auction, it lost out to two other concerns. The proposed areas for wind farms off Long Island would also affect the squid fishery and mackerel catches, Mayor Kirk Larson said. “It’s not just scallops. It could affect who knows how many fisheries.” Read the rest here 09:51

‘Sea Level Research’ Is Seismic Ruse for Oil Exploration – Neal Roberts, Lanoka Harbor, N.J.

I read with interest last autumn when a retired Princeton University professor emeritus wrote a letter to the editor defending the Rutgers University seismic testing proposed for the ocean floor within 20 miles of Barnegat Light (“Fear Not,” 11/12/2014). The Barnegat Light commercial fishing industry, local officials, New Jersey congressmen and legislators, Clean Ocean Action, Alliance for a Living Ocean and the state Department of Environmental Protection came out against the 2014 Atlantic Ocean project. (photo)  Read the rest here 15:48

Feds receive thousands of comments on Atlantic drilling

CHARLESTON, S.C. — The federal government has received thousands of comments on the contentious issue of drilling for oil and gas off the Atlantic coast. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is seeking comment on what should be included in an environmental impact statement on offshore drilling which for the first time could include Atlantic drilling. The agency in recent weeks held a series of public meetings along the coast. The deadline for comments is Monday night. Read the rest here 12:52

Obama administration agrees to N.J. public hearing on Atlantic oil drilling

Obama administration officials have agreed to hold a public hearing in New Jersey before deciding whether to let companies drill for oil and gas off the Atlantic Coast, lawmakers said today. The U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management hearing likely will take place in March at a time and place yet to be announced. Read the rest here 09:01

Fish expert sounds off on seismic surveys

The impact of the surveys on whales and other marine life has been hotly debated. In August, William Yancey Brown, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s chief environmental officer, asserted in an agency newsletter that there’s no documented scientific evidence of noise from air guns used in seismic surveys “adversely affecting marine animal populations or coastal communities” or commercial fishing. But Grant Gilmore, a senior scientist with,,, Read the rest here 12:15

Princeton Professor Emeritus of Geosciences Defends Marine Seismic Surveys for Study of Earth

R/V Maurice Ewing – The vessel was also slated for use in summer 2014 for a Rutgers University-led near-shore seismic study – opposed by many on the Jersey Shore, including fishermen, lawmakers and the nonprofit Clean Ocean Action, because of potential harm to sea life and fisheries commerce. Read the rest here 08:29

BOEM (the ocean destruction agency) targets fishing impacts

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has complied ‘best management practices’ (BMPs) to reduce fishing impacts by offshore wind energy development in the Atlantic Ocean. The agency and offshore wind leaseholders will use the recommendations in individual development plans. Read the rest here 20:05