Interior Department Announces Offshore Wind Development Projects

Apr 13, 2018

Back in January, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke released his plans for developing the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (National OCS Program). The plan opened up both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, as well as much of the area around Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico to offshore drilling. But at a recent conference, The Hill reports that Secretary Zinke admitted this could change. Zinke cited a lack of industry interest in his proposed drilling sites, in conjunction with strict environmental regulations pushing the offshore drilling market south to Latin America.

Closer to home, Zinke also explained how he had received strong pushback from many states on both the east and west coasts, throwing his original plans into jeopardy. “If the state doesn’t want [offshore drilling along off the coastline], the state has a lot of leverage,” he explained.

Turning his focus to renewable energy, Secretary Zinke made two announcements in support of offshore wind energy development, the first being the Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) of two areas off the coast of Massachusetts. “The proposed sale area has tremendous offshore wind energy potential and the responsible development of it continues to play a big role in the Administration’s America First Offshore Energy Strategy,” he explained.  Zinke also announced a call for information and nominations for potential new areas for offshore wind energy development within the New York Bight, a shallow water region between Long Island and the New Jersey Coast. Both announcements were listed in the Federal Register on April 11, with 60 and 45 day public comment periods respectively.

To view the Federal Register announcement and leave comments on the PSN in Massachusetts, click here: https://www.boem.gov/83-FR-15618/

To view the Federal Register announcement and leave comments on the New York Bight call for information, click here: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=BOEM_FRDOC_0001-0465