Oregon EA Frequently Asked Questions

BOEM is the bureau within the Department of the Interior that oversees the environmentally and economically responsible development of our energy and mineral resources on almost 2.5 billion acres of the nation’s Outer Continental Shelf, or OCS. All our activities are underlain by our robust environmental program, which ensures that we develop and use the best available information in our decision making.

We also consider public input to be a crucial component of safe and responsible offshore resource development. We solicit public comments from a host of stakeholders and ocean users, including the fishing community, mariners, and coastal communities, in our environmental reviews and regulatory programs.

Why is BOEM developing an Environmental Assessment (EA)?  

BOEM remains committed to a permitting process that minimizes user conflicts and establishes a strong foundation for wind projects moving forward.  The EA will provide important information regarding site assessment, site characterization, and other ocean users in the Wind Energy Area, in order to assist the decision maker during the leasing process.

BOEM’s renewable energy process includes a phased approach to environmental review.  One NEPA analysis is prepared at the lease sale stage, such as this Oregon EA.  There is another NEPA analysis done at the Construction and Operations phase, and this evaluation of full project build out is normally through an Environmental Impact Statement. 

What is scoping? 

Scoping is the phase of environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act where the agency seeks input from interested and affected tribal and governmental entities and the public to help BOEM identify the issues that should be included in the analysis.

What type of input or comments is BOEM seeking?  

In this scoping period for this Oregon EA, BOEM is seeking input on site assessment and site characterization activities, which includes a variety of scientific surveys to gather data on the environment in the Coos Bay and Brookings Wind Energy Areas, as well as other uses of the OCS in the vicinity.

How is scoping incorporated into the EA? 

Scoping comments assist BOEM in determining issues to be analyzed in the EA and in gathering information to support that analysis. An important aspect of input is proposing alternative ideas that achieve a similar purpose as the proposed action. BOEM considers the information provided and issues and alternatives raised from the comments received to ensure a complete analysis of the impacts of site assessment and site characterization on resources in the Wind Energy Area (WEA).

What is the EA intended to do? 

The analysis in this EA covers the potential impacts of lease issuance and the routine activities associated with site assessment and site characterization on those leases.  These activities may include 1) meteorological buoy deployment, operation, and decommissioning; and 2) site characterization activities (e.g., biological, geological, geophysical, geotechnical, and archaeological surveys) in the WEA.