Clean Ocean Action

Offshore Wind Off the NY/NJ Coast

Responsible & Reasonable Offshore Wind is a Climate Change Solution

But...The Ocean is at Risk from TOO MUCH, TOO FAST INDUSTRIALIZATION & PRIVATIZATION!

Over 1.2 MILLION ACRES of open, public ocean slated for offshore wind:

  • 425,000 acres of ocean already have been sold and leased to private offshore wind developers

  • 800,000 additional acres of ocean are FOR SALE for massive industrialization

  • Offshore wind decades away; Climate change reducting action needed now on land

A total of 1.28 million acres of ocean is slated for offshore wind energy off the NY/NJ coast, which is larger than Grand Canyon National Park!

TAKE ACTION! Comment Period Extended to September 23, 2021

On August 10, 2021, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Managment (BOEM) announced the release of a “Draft Environmental Assessment” for the 800,000 acres currently for sale for offshore wind development. BOEM is accepting public comments until September 23, 2021 (was extended from September 9, 2921) on the Draft EA.  Submit comments and urge BOEM, in the name of good governance, transparency, and concern for protecting environmental resources and for responsible OSW development, to:

  1. pause the sale of these 800,000 acres until more is known about the environmental impacts of the first 425,000 acres off New Jersey already underway for offshore wind development;
  2. hold an additional public meeting for people to learn about the draft Environmental Assessment (EA); and,
  3. extend the public comment period on the draft EA to 90 days to allow for adequate and comprehensive review.

Click here for a Step by Step Guide to Submit Comments to BOEM on the Draft EA

Click here for COA's Talking points on Offshore Wind off the NY/NJ Coast


 

Climate Action Now: No time to waste!

  • Fact: human use of fossil fuels is causing accelerated climate change.
  • Climate change is threatening all life on Earth.
  • The ocean has buffered climate impacts, but to her own demise with sea-level rise and ocean acidification.
  • A healthy ocean is key to helping reduce impacts from climate change. 
  • It will take decades to install and build offshore wind projects; we must prioritize onshore energy conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy.

The Ocean Off the NY/NJ Coast:

  • is the most diverse with 28 species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises, 5 species of sea turtles, and 4 species of seals.
  • has hundreds of species of fish and birds that depend on the region for home, food, or migration.
  • is home or host to endangered animals, including one most at risk, the North Atlantic Right Whale.
  • provides sustainable seafood for millions of people each year locally and around the world.
  • is VERY busy—flanked by the #1 port on the East Coast, NY/NJ Harbor, and by the Port of Philadelphia.     

An Ocean Industrialization Experiment is Already Underway off New York & New Jersey:

  • Massive industrialization is already underway with roughly 400 offshore wind turbines proposed -- and more on the
    way -- with unknown impacts from noise, electromagnetic fields, and massive onshore and offshore infrastructure. 
  • Rushed and uninformed development puts marine life at risk and is rife with possible unintended consequences.
  • Nearly half million acres are already privatized -- sold to big energy (including “Big Oil”).
  • The nearly 425,000 acres already sold is roughly:
    • 2 times the size of all 5 Boroughs of New York City
    • Nearly 5 times the size of Las Vegas, NV
    • Nearly 1.5 times the size of Los Angeles, CA
  • Marine mammals, including endangered species, are at grave risk from vessel strikes and noise. 
  • New turbines are huge – as tall as the Empire State Building (without antenna).
  • Large onshore construction sites for offshore wind have yet to be developed.
  • Full development is nearly 10 years away—far too slow to meet the climate challenges of today. The estimated completion of offshore wind projects in the NJ wind energy areas is 2035.

800,00 ACRES MORE ARE NOW FOR SALE: THAT’S TOO MUCH, TOO FAST

On June 11, 2021, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced a proposed sale for 800,000 acres of public ocean waters (eight auction areas) for offshore wind development on the Outer Continental Shelf off the NY/NJ coast. These proposed lease sales are in addition to the nearly 425,000 acres already sold for offshore wind.
To put the numbers in perspective, the areas of ocean in this next lease sale are nearly twice the size of the existing sold leases!!! Comparatively, the 800,000 acres for sale is roughly:

  • 30 times the size of Disney World in Florida, the largest amusement park in the world.
  • Over 1.5 times the size of Smoky Mountain National Park.
  • Nearly 1,000 times the size of Central Park in New York City.

TOO FAST: BOEM is fast-tracking the process, seeking bidders before the Environmental Assessment, which evaluates the marine life at risk, has been completed for these lease areas.

TOO MUCH: IN TOTAL, Over 1 Million Acres Slated for Offshore Wind Energy

Combined, the areas off the coast already sold and proposed for sale for offshore wind energy development, total 1.28 million acres, which is larger than the Grand Canyon National Park! Once the lease areas are sold, they are no longer public lands. Current laws do not fully protect ocean resources from harm. Right now, only the court of public opinion can protect these lands and the ocean resources.

CLIMATE PROTECTION ACTION IS NEEDED NOW!

  • The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released in August 2021 indicates climate change is widespread, rapid, and intensifying worldwide, and robust action must be taken within this decade.
  • However, proposed offshore wind projects and on-land construction sites are in their infancy and will take years to get approved, constructed, and put into operation. No onshore construction facilities are on-line and could take years to develop. The projection for completion of these massive offshore wind facilities is, at best, 2030-2035 or beyond without challenges from hurricanes, storms, offshore construction, and other delays.
  • The ocean and planet cannot wait decades for offshore wind; it is only part of the climate change solutions needed.
  • Immediate solutions to address climate change must not adversely impact the very resources that need to be protected.
  • CHEAPER, SAFER, EASIER: It is imperative to PRIORITIZE, EXPEDITE, and IMPLEMENT ONSHORE GREEN OPTIONS NOW, including more energy reduction requirements and efficiency measures. The GREENEST energy of all is the energy people do not use, and it can save people thousands of dollars.

OFFSHORE WIND MUST BE REASONABLE & RESPONSIBLE TO PROTECT OCEAN RESOURCES

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. This fast-tracked scope and scale of offshore wind energy development off the NY/NJ coast is not reasonable or responsible because of all the unknowns.  


Upcoming Opportunities for Action!

Clean Ocean Action (COA) shares the following information about upcoming opportunities to learn about and comment on the numerous wind energy projects and related federal and state actions off the coast of New York and New Jersey. Clean Ocean Action urges you to review the information and provide oral testimony or written comments, specifically outlining concerns for the marine environment.

1. Upcoming Virtual Public Meetings on Offshore Wind Energy off NY/NJ Coast – August 24 (1pm) and August 25 (5pm); Comments due September 9, 2021

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) hosted two virtual public hearings (8/25 at 5pm and 8/26 at 1pm)about the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) of the 800,000 acres for offshore wind. In your comments, demand BOEM extend the comment period by 90 days to allow time for careful review and evaluation of the Draft EA, released on August 10, 2021. Request another public meeting. Request BOEM pause the sale of 800,000 acres of ocean until the environmental impacts are known, particularly from the existing 425,000 acreas already underway for offshore wind development off NJ's coast. Currently, comments are due September 9, 2021. For more information on the public meetings, Draft EA, and how to comment, click here. Also, check-out Clean Ocean Action’s talking points and Step by Step Guide to submit comments. ONCE IT’S SOLD, IT’S SOLD!

 

2. NJDEP Welcomes Comments and Information on Federal Consistency Certification of Equinor’s Empire Wind project; Comments due September 4, 2021

Clean Ocean Action is concerned about the location of the Empire Wind project due to navigational safety and impacts to marine resources and the industries that depend on a clean ocean. NJDEP is accepting comments on the Federal Consistency Certification on the project until September 4.

From the NJDEP: “The NJDEP has received a request for a Federal Consistency Certification from Equinor’s Empire Wind to develop a commercial-scale, offshore wind energy facility within Lease Area OCS-0512 off the coast of New York and New Jersey. The project includes up to 174 wind turbine generators, two offshore substations, two offshore electrical cable routes, up to three export cable landfall sites, up to three onshore electrical cable routes, and two onshore substations, providing connection to the existing electrical grid in New York.

Project information is available to review at: www.nj.gov/dep/offshorewind/outreach.html#comment

The Department of Environmental Protection welcomes comments and any information that you may provide concerning the proposed Project by September 4, 2021. During the COVID-19 pandemic and the remote work environment, the Department encourages the submission of written comments electronically at www.nj.gov/dep/offshorewind/comments.html

However, comments may also be submitted to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Land Resource Protection, P.O. Box 420, Code 501-02A, Trenton, New Jersey 08625, attn: Janet Stewart, Section Chief. There is no need for duplicate electronic and hard copy submissions. All comments submitted will be maintained by the Department.”

Headquarters:

49 Avenel Blvd.
Long Branch, NJ 07740

Field Office:

Gateway National Recreation Area
Sandy Hook, New Jersey

Voice: (732) 872-0111
FAX: (732) 872-8041


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