BOEM Seeks Public Input on Offshore Wind Development's Potential Impacts on Rhode Island, Massachusetts Historic Properties

10-27-2011 WASHINGTON

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is seeking public comments as it considers the potential effects of wind energy leasing activities on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

In accordance with the requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, BOEM is consulting with interested parties and members of the public who share concerns about historic properties that might be affected by proposed commercial leasing on the OCS. The area of concern is within the Area of Mutual Interest (AMI) as described by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Governors of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

"As we work toward offshore wind energy development, we must protect our nation's historical and cultural resources," said BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau. "We encourage stakeholders to provide us with this important information so that we can ensure that offshore wind projects proceed in the right way, in the right places."

BOEM is planning to conduct an Environmental Assessment (EA) as part of its "Smart from the Start" initiative to facilitate efficient and environmentally-responsible development of renewable energy resources on the OCS. This Section 106 review is being conducted in coordination with the EA. The bureau is conducting both of these activities to evaluate the potential impacts that issuing renewable energy leases and conducting site assessment activities - such as the installation and operation of meteorological towers and buoys - could have on historic properties. Any leases that may be issued will not authorize construction or operations of commercial wind energy projects; specific proposed projects will undergo appropriate environmental review and analysis with additional opportunities for public comment.

For more information on BOEM's Renewable Energy, go to: http://www.boem.gov/Renewable-Energy-Program/Index.aspx

Comments on the proposed undertaking as it pertains to historic properties concerns should be submitted to BOEM by November 10, 2011, in one of the following ways:

    1. Electronically: http://www.boem.gov/About-BOEM/Public-Engagement/Public-Engagement-Opportunities.aspx. Click on the "Public Comment" link and follow the instructions to submit public comments and to view supporting and related materials.

    2. In written form, delivered by hand or by mail, enclosed in an envelope labeled "MA-RI Section 106 Consultation" to Program Manager, Office of Renewable Energy (HM 1328), Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, 381 Elden Street, Herndon, Virginia 20170-4817.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) promotes energy independence, environmental protection and economic development through responsible, science-based management of offshore conventional and renewable energy resources.