Clean Ocean Action

OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY OFF NEW YORK & NEW JERSEY

***** ACTION ALERT! *****

Large-Scale Offshore Wind Project Poses Significant Environmental & Navigational Risks of NY/NJ Coast,
Proposed in Prime Fishing Grounds
Public Comments on “Empire Wind 1 & 2” due July 26, 2021!

Now is your chance to comment on one of the many large-scale, industrial offshore wind facilities proposed in the public ocean waters in the NY/NJ region.  Empire Wind 1 & 2 is nearly 80,000 acres in size and is sited in prime fishing grounds and in a busy international port region, posing significant navigation hazards. Empire Wind 1 & 2, proposed for 12 miles south of Long Island, NY, and 17 miles east of Long Branch, NJ, pose major risks.

Offshore wind energy industrial development is moving rapidly forward in the ocean waters off New York and New Jersey. Clean Ocean Action (COA) supports responsible and reasonable offshore wind (OSW) energy development; this includes operation, management, and decommissioning, as well as the associated onshore infrastructure. Notably, many marine scientists agree that little is known about the harm from this industrialization of the ocean, especially at the magnitude, scale, and speed of development currently proposed.

What can you do?
Here are three ways to get involved NOW and get informed on offshore wind energy off the NY/NJ coast:

  1. Public comments to identify the environmental impacts and concerns for the Empire Wind 1 & 2 projects are due by July 26 at 11:59pm. Click here for COA’s action alert and steps to submit comments.
  2. Take COA’s Citizen's Survey on Offshore Wind Energy. We want to hear from you! This survey will provide COA with vital information on the public's knowledge of offshore wind energy.
  3. Check out COA’s informative Slide Show on Offshore Wind Energy to learn more about the offshore wind energy facilities in various stages of development off the NY/NJ Coast.

Photo: Turbine and Capacity Estimates for BOEM Wind Energy Areas and Call Areas (Credit: Tufts University School of Engineering)

 


Clean Ocean Action & Offshore Wind Energy:

For over 37 years, COA has been the leading coalition successfully campaigning to improve and protect the waters in the region known as the New York/New Jersey Bight. These shared waters have a long history.  COA’s campaigns have ended ocean dumping, resulting in the closing of eight disposal sites, blocked five offshore liquefied natural gas export/import facilities, and prevented commercial seafloor strip-mining for aggregate, offshore oil and gas drilling proposals and associated seismic activities, and other industrialization activities that threaten the marine ecosystem.  Thus, COA speaks from this extensive knowledge and commitment to the region. 

Despite the progress made in improving the ocean off the NY/NJ coast, the ocean remains threatened, especially due to climate change. Climate change does (and has for decades) represent an existential threat, and all efforts must be made to reduce the causes, particularly the reduction of carbon emissions. However, this new industry, untested in the USA, requires additional investigation of areas with a focus on comprehensive, inclusive assessments of all offshore wind life-cycle impacts.  

Further, the need for good governance and responsible development is now critical with the recent accelerated scope and magnitude of cumulative offshore wind activities under President Biden’s Executive Order 14008, combined with the exuberance from New York and New Jersey state governments.  This rush to build in the ocean, and now in WEAs, is inconsistent with responsible management.  BOEM and state agencies appear to continue to apply outdated, silo-based environmental assessments and strategies, which may be in violation of their NEPA mandate.  BOEM has required little to no comprehensive cumulative assessment, and there has been a lack of good governance in evaluating current activities. 

A healthy coastal ecosystem depends on the dramatic reduction of fossil fuel energy consumption and the establishment of a comprehensive energy policy that, first and foremost, puts a premium on energy conservation and efficiency.  Subsequent to these steps, Clean Ocean Action (COA) supports the responsible development of offshore wind energy (OSW) off the coasts of New Jersey and New York, which is a firm step toward reducing reliance on fossil fuel energy sources.  Responsible development means that pre-planning, oversight, and precaution must be required before any OSW development occurs. 

Specifically, COA calls for comprehensive ecological baseline studies, standardized data collection methods, ecological performance standards, risk analyses, pilot studies, and the recognition of the importance of meaningful public participation in all stages of the process.  These requirements are consistent with the recent federal government initiatives to integrate ocean resource uses and users.   Under the National Ocean Policy and Framework for Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning, any coastal or ocean program should protect, maintain, and restore the health and biological diversity of the ecosystem.  These goals go hand-in-hand with COA’s call for precaution and pre-planning.

In sum, it is essential for offshore wind development to be done correctly and well.  Overarching Policy: To ensure the environmentally sustainable development of Offshore Wind in the New York/ New Jersey Bight.

Read Clean Ocean Action Offshore Wind Policy Stance.


 

Other Recent Updates on Offshore Wind Energy off NY/NJ Coast

1. In April 2021, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced two notices for public comment regarding offshore wind energy development off the NY/NJ coast - one for 800,000 acres of offshore wind area leases, and the second for the Ocean Wind project off the coast of Atlantic City, NJ. Clean Ocean Action provided comments on both opportunities to comment:

  • Click here for Clean Ocean Action's comments on the New York Bight Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Assessment for Commercial Wind Lease Issuance and Site Assessment Activities on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Offshore New York; MMAA104000; Docket No. BOEM-2021-0021-0002.
  • Click here for Clean Ocean Action's comments on a Notice of Intent (NOI) to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the review of a construction and operations plan (COP) for Ocean Wind, LLC’s Proposed Wind Energy Facility Offshore New Jersey, Docket No. BOEM-2021-0024 
  • For more information about the above announcements and Clean Ocean Action's position check out our action alert.

2. On July 22, 2020, Clean Ocean Action held a "Lunch and Learn" informational Zoom webinar, "Offshore Wind Energy Development Off NY/NJ." The webinar provided an overview of offshore wind development, touching upon topics such as why states are investing in offshore wind energy, who regulates the development of offshore wind, and what are the environmental concerns related to offshore wind development.   

  • A recording of the webinar can be accessed here. 
  • View Peter's presentation slides by clicking here.
  • At the end of the webinar, Clean Ocean Action held a question and answer session. Clean Ocean Action staff attempted to answer as many questions as possible but were unable to address all. As a follow-up, Clean Ocean Action prepared the document, “Public Questions & Answers from 7/22/2020 Webinar: Offshore Wind Energy Development off NJ,” that answers the remaining questions raised by attendees. The questions are sorted by topic area.  
  • Several acronyms are used throughout this document. To see a full list of acronyms relevant to offshore wind development, consult Appendix A - Clean Ocean Action Offshore Wind Energy Development Acronym List (or click here for Appendix A).  

NJ BPU Offshore Wind Strategic Plan & Second Solicitation for Offshore Wind Projects off NJ

The NJ Board of Public Utilities moved forward with two important dockets related to the future of offshore wind development off the coast of New Jersey. The first was the release of the Draft Offshore Wind Strategic Plan, which is designed to act as a blueprint for New Jersey’s development of 7,500 MW of offshore wind energy by 2035. The second was the release of the Draft Guidance Document for the Second Solicitation, which outlines the application requirements for offshore wind developers seeking approval to be the second offshore wind farm in New Jersey. The BPU held a public hearing on both documents and the hearings were attended by a wide range of stakeholders including COA.  

Read COA's final comments on the Offshore Wind Strategic Plan.

Read COA's comments on the NJBPU Draft Guidance Document for the Second Solicitation on Offshore Wind Development.


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