Offshore energy plans get direction from federal bureau | News

WASHINGTON, DC — The federal government agency which manages US offshore energy development says this week it is making a change.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issued an outline of its considerations of Construction and Operation Plan (COP) Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) specifically for offshore wind energy projects.

Under the US Department of the Interior, BOEM manages development of US Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) energy and mineral resources for environmental and economic responsibility.

This week it issued a ten-page outline to clarify expectations of energy project proposals to meet several criteria regarding analysis of alternatives. Offshore wind energy and renewable wave energy projects are getting attention and development for the Oregon coast.

BOEM says, “In order to increase transparency and consistency for our government partners, offshore wind industry and other key stakeholders, BOEM has standardized its process for identifying reasonable alternatives for evaluation in its draft Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) for all offshore wind Construction and Operations Plans (COP) received from lessees.”

BOEM’s finalized document,”Process for Identifying Alternatives for Environmental Reviews of Offshore Wind Construction and Operations Plans pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)” is online.

After conceding that federal bureaucracy filings can be very involved, it affirms in offshore energy development reviews by the US government it is”the Lead Federal Agency.”

Its outline lists detailed expectations and considerations for environmental impact statements that should review effects of planned facilities and proposed activities for prospective energy projects.

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It wrote, “BOEM’s mandate under OCSLA Sec. 1337(p)(4) to ensure ‘any activity under this subsection is carried out in a manner that provides for’ several factors including safety; protection of the environment; the prevention of waste the wind resource; conservation of natural resources; national security; and consideration of other ocean and OCS uses, among others. These various factors at the leasing and plan approval stages of renewable energy activities.”

BOEM says, “The bureau is responsible for stewardship of US OCS energy and mineral resources, as well as protecting the environment that the development of those resources may impact. . . BOEM is committed to using the best available science in bureau decision making. . . Each BOEM employee is expected to conduct their daily operations in a way that demonstrates both professional and personal integrity. This includes a commitment to the highest level of scientific and scholarly integrity.”

BOEM Wind farm in sea US Dept of Interior image online June 2022.jpg

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