Comments at FERC regarding Grays Harbor ocean & wind energy project

From the FERC docket library regarding the proposed Grays Harbor New York Ocean Energy Project off the shores of Suffolk County (Long Island):

US Army Corps of Engineers said Grays Harbor, you’re probably going to need a permit from us; please come talk to us.

US Dept. of Interior notified FERC that is it intervening, indicating in comments that it

…would be opposed to any hydroelectric construction or operation that would destroy or seriously degrade fish and wildlife resources and associated habitats in or near the New York Bight or Great South Bay. We recommend that the permittee be required to coordinate with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to consider development and operations that would be compatible with existing fish and wildlife resources.

Dept. of Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS), which oversees development on the Outer Contintental Shelf (OCS), protested. MMS indicates that Grays Harbor did not notify MMS and MMS is considering three lease applications in the same OCS area by different applicants.

Deepwater Wind, a developer of utility-scale offshore wind projects in the northeastern United States and which indicates that it is working with MMS as well as state governments to develop offshore wind projects in the Atlantic Ocean, also moved to intervene.

Likewise, the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) moved to intervene. LIPA indicates that over the past few years, LIPA has been involved in efforts to evaluate the potential for offshore wind power generation off the coast of Long Island and that, as a result, it will be directly affected by FERC’s decision in this proceeding.

[update 1/30] The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) offered comments as well. In sum:

Department staff have serious concerns for the location of this project with respect to the potential impact of the WECs/wind turbines on the aquatic habitat, birds and bats, other natural resources, as well as navigation and safety issues. However, because this project is in the preliminary permit stage, and because the sponsor has yet to submit an actual project proposal or study plan for federal, state and local review , it is difficult to provide specific comments. Therefore, we strongly encourage the applicant to consult with the Department and other appropriate agencies as to the need for, and scope of, data acquisition and studies needed (including but not limited to baseline studies) to further understand the site, its resources, and impacts associated with the project proposal, including the impacts of full field development.

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