Clean Ocean Action

DEMAND REASONABLE AND RESPONSIBLE OFFSHORE WIND!

 

­SPEAK FOR THE WHALES!
SPEAK FOR THE OCEAN!


Government hid the impacts of offshore wind energy to endangered whales --- what else are they hiding?

Bloomberg News had to file a request under the Freedom of Information Act to wrench an alarming letter from a federal scientist that highlighted the anticipated impacts from offshore wind energy development on the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale.

 

The offshore wind projects are immense, and the numbers are staggering.

Here are the latest government figures for offshore wind energy plans in the northeast for the next 6 years:

  • 2.4 million acres impacted with 3,400 turbines (as tall as the Chrysler building),
  • 10,000 miles of cable ripping through the seafloor,
  • an additional 5.7 millionmore acres are under consideration. (Source: NMFS)

 

Paving the ocean with offshore wind at the current scale, pace, and magnitude is reckless and will have dire consequences.

A comprehensive pilot project has NOT been conducted to fairly and fully understand the impacts to marine life and the ocean.

 

How to HELP!  

Join Clean Ocean Action in demanding that President Biden and Governors Murphy and Hochul conduct a comprehensive, reasonable and responsible pilot project to assess the harms to act proactively to reduce future harms. In the meantime, reduce CO2 emissions now by accelerating and prioritizing energy reduction and implementing conservation. These are the fastest, cleanest, safest, cheapest ways to reduce CO2.

Government officials are jamming-in an unprecedented number of public hearings during the holiday season to fast-track the process and try to minimize public oversight and participation.

 

TAKE ACTION NOW!

Public Hearings & Comment Opportunities for offshore wind projects off the New York/New Jersey Coast:

  • Ocean Wind 1 State permits bundle: https://dep.nj.gov/offshorewind/

    • The project developers, Orsted & PSE&G, need multiple permits from the State of New Jersey for the 98-turbine project planned for 15 miles off the Atlantic City, NJ, coast. Three public hearings, 2 virtual and 1 in-person, are scheduled where testimony can be presented. 
      • Public Hearings on Ocean Wind 1:
        • December 7, 2022, 9am-12pm (virtual)
        • December 12, 2022, 5-8pm (virtual)
        • December 15, 2022, 6-9pm, (in person), Hammonton High School, 566 Old Forks Road, Hammonton
      • Public Comment Period: open now, but an official 15-day comment period begins after the last hearing. Therefore, comments should be submitted to NJDEP by December 30, 2022.
         
  • Empire Wind 1 & 2 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS): https://www.boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/empire-wind 

    • The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is holding 3 virtual public hearings and is accepting comments on the DEIS for this 147-turbine offshore wind facility 19 miles off Long Branch, NJ.
      • Public Hearings on DEIS (all virtual):
        • Wednesday December 7, 2022 at 5:00 PM
        • Tuesday December 13, 2022 at 5:00 PM
        • Thursday December 15, 2022 at 1:00 PM
      • Public Comment Period: open now, ends January 17, 2023 by 11:59pm.

 

Helpful Resources from COA:

 

Stay informed: SIGN-UP* to find out how to support reasonable and responsible offshore wind development off the NY/NJ coast and to receive pertinent information from Clean Ocean Action about public comment opportunities, proposals, and other offshore wind related updates.

Offshore Wind Energy is Being Fast-tracked...


EXTENSIVE ONSHORE & OFFSHORE IMPACTS FROM LARGE-SCALE OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY

Marine Life & Coastal Communities at Risk!

Nationwide, offshore wind development is rapidly expanding in multiple regions of the United States, including the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Over one million acres of open, public ocean has already been leased to develop offshore wind energy off the New York and New Jersey coasts. The 1,033,716 acres already leased off the NY/NJ coast is nearly equal to the size of Grand Canyon National Park. 
  • 25 projects and lease areas for offshore wind off the New Jersey and New York coast are being fast-tracked.
  • In February 2022, a half million acres off the NY/NJ coast were auctioned and sold for nearly $4.4 billion -- the largest offshore wind sale in US history. 
  • In October 2022, NJ Governor Murphy increased the state's offshore wind target almost 50% from 7500 Megawatts by 2030 to 11,000 MW by 2035. 
  • New York’s offshore wind energy goals are 9,000MW by 2035.
  • The ocean off the NY/NJ Coast is ecologically significant & diverse with 28 species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises, 5 species of sea turtles, and 4 species of seals. Endangered species, including the North Atlantic right whale and sea turtles, are at grave risk from offshore wind development. 
  • The impacts -- both onland and offshore -- of the massive industrialization of the ocean with offshore wind energy facilities are unknown.
  • Companies are applying to are applying to “harass, torment, & annoy” thousands of marine mammals, including the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale, in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to build hundreds of enormous wind turbines in the ocean.
  • 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.
  • The federal and state review process is moving forward rapidly.
  • The ocean has borne the brunt of harmful industrial pollution for generations while naturally mitigating the impacts of climate change on the planet.

COA supports responsible and reasonable offshore wind energy, but this is a reckless privatization, and will not ensure protection of marine life including whales, dolphins, turtles and the hundreds of other species that call the ocean home.

Clearly, the thousands of acres leased for offshore wind and the more than two dozen projects underway is too much, too fast! COA is not opposed to offshore wind energy but supports a reasonably and responsibly sized pilot project. Let’s be sure offshore wind is not done recklessly but done right. 


Offshore Wind Companies to Harass Thousands of Whales, Dolphins, & Porpoises

Offshore wind companies are applying for Incidental Harassment Authorizations (IHA) from the National Marine Fisheries Service for site assessment and construction and operation activities in lease areas. Thousands of whales, dolphins, and porpoises will be harassesd for months and years by offshore wind companies and the activities necessary to build thousands of offshore wind turbines and related faciliites in the ocean along the East Coast, and beyond. There are many species of marine mammals that live and migrate through the ocean off New York and New Jersey, including the critically endangered North Atlanic right whale, of which there are less than 350 left in the world. Contact Clean Ocean Action about the latest applications to harass marine mammals from offshore wind companies.


Updates & COA Comments on Offshore Wind Energy off NY/NJ Coast

  1. Click here to review COA's comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Ocean Wind 1.
  2. Click here to review COA's comments to BOEM for the agency's preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind projects off New Jersey’s coast. (November 2021)
  3. COA's Comments to BOEM on NY Bight Draft Environmental Assessment on Leasing 800,000 acres of ocean off the NY/NJ coast for offshore wind energy development (September 23, 2021)
  4. COA's Comments to NJDEP on Federal Consistency Certification of Equinor’s Empire Wind project (September 4, 2021)
  5. COA's comments to BOEM on Empire Wind 1 & 2 - BOEM Notice of Intent to Prepare and Environmental Impact Statement (On July 26, 2021)
  6. Click here for Clean Ocean Action's commentson 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. (April 2021)
  7. 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 (April 2021)
  8. NJ BPU Offshore Wind Strategic Plan & Second Solicitation for Offshore Wind Projects off NJ: 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 PlanRead COA's comments on the NJBPU Draft Guidance Document for the Second Solicitation on Offshore Wind Development.
  9. Click the links below for information and resources presented during Clean Ocean Action's "Lunch and Learn" informational Zoom webinar on July 22, 2020, "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 Clean Ocean Action's Policy Attorney'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). 

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 reasonsable, responsible, and environmentally sustainable development of Offshore Wind in the New York/ New Jersey Bight.

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