Non-physical resources evaluation
By Todd Griset
Last week the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) released its assessment of the environmental impacts of leasing sites for offshore wind development in an area of Rhode Island Sound offshore Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The document, Commercial Wind Lease Issuance and Site Assessment Activities on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf Offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts (379-page PDF), plays an important role in the federal leasing process for offshore wind sites, but it is far from the last step in the process.
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to evaluate the reasonably foreseeable impacts of proposed agency actions on the environment. Agencies perform this evaluation by preparing an environmental assessment (EA), a document describing the proposed action, its purpose and need, environmental impacts, and alternatives that might reduce these impacts. If the EA reveals that the action would lead to reasonably foreseeable significant impacts on the environment, the agency must prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) before taking the action. If, on the other hand, the EA reveals that the proposed action would have no significant impact on the environment, the agency may proceed with its proposed action without further environmental analysis.
Source: Offshore Wind Wire
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