As part of the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of permitting 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy by 2030, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) today announced the release of its draft Environmental Assessment (EA) on the potential impacts from future commercial leasing and related site characterization and assessment activities within the Humboldt Wind Energy Area (WEA).
The Humboldt WEA is approximately 206 square miles that, if developed, could bring up to 1.6 GW of clean energy to the grid, enough to power approximately 560,000 homes.
The draft EA considers potential environmental impacts and socioeconomic effects from issuing offshore wind energy leases and related site characterization and assessment activities within the Humboldt WEA. Site characterization activities include geophysical, geotechnical, archaeological, and biological surveys needed to develop specific project proposals on those leases. Site assessment activities could include installation and operation of meteorological buoys in support of leases that may be issued.
“BOEM is requesting public comments on the adequacy of our environmental analysis and of the measures designed to avoid or reduce potential environmental impacts,” said BOEM’s Pacific Office regional director Doug Boren. “BOEM will consider such comments before determining whether to issue a finding of no significant impact or to conduct additional analyses under the National Environmental Policy Act.”
Before approving the construction of any offshore wind energy facility on a potential future lease in the Humboldt WEA, BOEM will develop an Environmental Impact Statement to analyze the specific environmental consequences of constructing and operating such a facility, in consultation with Tribes and appropriate federal, state, and local agencies, and with participation by stakeholders and the public.
BOEM is also requesting public comments related to potential impacts to historic properties from commercial leasing and site characterization and assessment activities in the Humboldt WEA. This is part of BOEM’s National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 Programmatic Agreement with the State of California covering wind energy development offshore that state.
Today’s announcement initiates a 30-day public review and comment period on the draft EA, which will end at 11:59 p.m. (Eastern) on Feb. 10, 2022.
To facilitate public input, BOEM will host two virtual meetings. The first meeting will be held on January 25, 2022, from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. The second meeting will be held on Jan. 26, 2022, from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Meeting times listed are in Pacific Time.
The draft EA, instructions on how to submit comments and information on the public meetings can be found online at www.boem.gov/HumboldtEA.
-- BOEM --
The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is responsible for America’s offshore energy and mineral resources. The bureau promotes energy independence, environmental protection and economic development through responsible, science-based management of energy and mineral resources on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.