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Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management to hold public meetings in January: Vineyard Wind, LLC seeks Corps permit to construct offshore wind turbine generators off Martha’s Vineyard

Published Dec. 26, 2018

CONCORD, Mass. – Vineyard Wind LLC, of 700 Pleasant Street in New Bedford, Massachusetts, is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District to conduct work in waters of the U.S. in conjunction with constructing up to 100 offshore wind turbine generators and placing cables off the coast of Martha's Vineyard and within Nantucket Sound in Massachusetts.

 

The Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM) is the lead Federal agency for this proposed project. The project is identified as Docket No. BOEM-20 18-0069. As the lead agency, the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Assessment in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act.  

 

The DEIS was issued and published in the federal register on Dec. 7, 2018. The DEIS is available for review at https://www.boem.gov/Vineyard-Wind/. Comments may be submitted directly to BOEM at

https://www.regulations.govIdocket?D=B0EM-2018-0069.

 

This work is proposed in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Martha's Vineyard and within Nantucket Sound. Work regulated by the Corps will include the construction of up to 100 offshore wind turbine generators (WTGs), scour protection around the base of the WTGs, up to two electrical service platforms (ESPs), inter-array cables connecting the WTGS to the ESPs, inter-link cables between ESPs (if two ESPs are placed), and two offshore export cables within a single 23.3 mile route. The cable route will begin at the Vineyard Wind lease site OCS-A 0501, will either take the Western Muskeget Channel Route or the Eastern Muskeget Channel Route, and will make landfall at either Covell's Beach in Barnstable, Massachusetts or at New Hampshire Avenue in Yarmouth, Massachusetts.

 

The purpose of the proposed project, in regards to the Corps review, is the construction, maintenance, and operation of a commercial scale wind energy project and associated transmission lines for renewable energy generation and distribution to the Massachusetts energy grid.

 

The applicant has designed the Vineyard Wind Project to avoid and minimize impacts to waters of the U.S. No impacts to onshore wetlands are proposed as part of the Vineyard Wind Project. In offshore areas where impacts to marine resources are unavoidable, the applicant has avoided all Corps defined special aquatic sites including eelgrass beds, intertidal mud flats, coral reef complexes, etc. Impacts are anticipated to consist of structures and temporary construction impacts with no permanent losses of waters of the U.S. Compensatory mitigation requirements are under consideration.

 

The Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management will hold public comment meetings on the DEIS for the proposed Vineyard Wind Project. The dates and locations of the meetings are:

 

- Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, 5-8 p.m., New Bedford Whaling Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA;

- Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, 5-8 p.m., Narragansett Town Hall, 25 5th Avenue, Narragansett, RI;

- Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, 5-8 p.m., Double Tree Hotel, 287 Lyannough Road, Hyannis, MA;

- Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019, 5-7 p.m., Nantucket Atheneum, 1 India Street, Nantucket; MA;

- Thursday, Jan, 17, 2019, 5- 8 p.m., Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center, 130 Center Street, Vineyard Haven, MA.

 

The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act requires all federal agencies to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on all actions, or proposed actions, permitted, funded, or undertaken by the agency, that may adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH). EFH describes waters and substrate necessary for fish for spawning, breeding, feeding or growth to maturity. Further consultation with the NMFS regarding EFH conservation recommendations is being conducted by the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management as the lead federal agency and will be concluded prior to the final decision.

 

The application for the federal permit was filed with the Corps in compliance with Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, which provides for federal regulation of any work in, or affecting navigable waters of the U.S.; Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates the discharge or fill of material in U.S. waters, including wetlands. The public notice, with more specifics on the proposed work, can be viewed on the Corps website at www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx.

 

The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact of the proposed activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefit which may reasonably accrue from the proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors which may be relevant to the proposal will be considered, including the cumulative effect.

 

The Corps is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, state, and local agencies and officials; Indian Tribes; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity. The Corps will consider all comments received to determine whether to issue, modify, condition or deny a permit for this proposal.

 

Public comments on the proposed work (file # NAE-2017-01206) should be forwarded no later than Jan. 28, 2019 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Christine Jacek), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Christine Jacek at 978-318-8026 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: christine.m.jacek@usace.army.mil.


Contact
Tim Dugan
978-318-8264
cenae-pa@usace.army.mil

Release no. 18-121