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National Environmental Policy Act and Offshore Renewable Energy

BOEM's mission is to facilitate the responsible development of renewable energy resources on the Outer Continental Shelf through conscientious planning, stakeholder engagement, comprehensive environmental analysis, and sound technical review.  The Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorized the development of regulations for the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Renewable Energy Program. This regulatory framework establishes a process for environmental review of proposed offshore wind projects. Each project is subject to a review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) as well as consultations with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA).  Consultation is also conducted under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

In support of the NEPA process, BOEM is developing white papers to provide detailed discussions of topics raised. These papers will be summarized and incorporated by in BOEM's offshore renewable energy NEPA documents.

Below you will find links to completed Environmental Assessments (EAs) in support of leasing and Environmental Impact Statement (EISs) in support of plan approval, white papers on technical and environmental topics, and modeling tools.

BOEM has developed white papers that provide more detailed information about topics presented in NEPA documents.  The white papers are summarized in the NEPA documents and incorporated by reference. 

Cumulative

White papers that discuss methodology for assessing cumulative impacts

National Environmental Policy Act Documentation for Impact-Producing Factors in the Offshore Wind Cumulative Impacts Scenario on the North Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (2019)

National Environmental Policy Act Documentation for Impact-Producing Factors in the Offshore Wind Cumulative Impacts Scenario on the South Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (2021)

Impact Producing Factors

White papers that discuss activities that produce impacts

Benefits - Evaluating Benefits of Offshore Wind Energy Projects in NEPA (2017)

Decommissioning - Supporting National Environmental Policy Act Documentation for Offshore Wind Energy Development Related to Decommissioning Offshore Wind Facilities (2022)

Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) - Evaluation of Potential EMF Effects on Fish Species of Commercial or Recreational Fishing Importance in Southern New England (2019)

Foundations - Comparison of Environmental Effects from Different Offshore Wind Turbine Foundations (2021)

High Voltage Direct Current Cooling Systems - Supporting National Environmental Policy Act Documentation for Offshore Wind Energy Development Related to High Voltage Direct Current Cooling Systems (2022)

Microclimates - Supporting National Environmental Policy Act Documentation for Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Development Related to Microclimates (2022)

Sound - Improving Efficiencies of National Environmental Policy Act Documentation for Offshore Wind Facilities - Case Studies Report (2017)

Unexploded Ordinance - Supporting National Environmental Policy Act Documentation for Offshore Wind Energy Development Related to Munitions and Explosives of Concern and Unexploded Ordinances (2022)

Resources

White papers that discuss resources analyzed in NEPA documents

Avian - Supporting National Environmental Policy Act Documentation for Offshore Wind Energy Development Related to Avian Species Research (2022)

Benthic Habitats, Marine Mammals - Improving Efficiencies of National Environmental Policy Act Documentation for Offshore Wind Facilities - Case Studies Report (2017)

Coastal Land Use - Coastal Land Use in the Atlantic Region: General Social and Economic Baseline Information for Environmental Impact Statements (2022) 

Navigation - Supporting National Environmental Policy Act Documentation for Offshore Wind Energy Development Related to Navigation (2019)