Feds designate tract off Del. coast as wind power study area

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The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced eight draft Wind Energy Areas  in the Central Atlantic for public review and comment.

The draft WEAs are in federal waters offshore Delaware, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland and cover about 1.7 million acres. Their closest points range from about 19 to 77 nautical miles off the coast.

An area off the coast of Delaware announced earlier did not included a fishing zone generated by artificial reefs formed from scuttled ships and subway cars.

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The Skipjack Wind project, which is in the latter stage of development is off the southern edge of Delaware.

The eight draft WEAs represent a subset of the original 3.9 million acres of the Call Area that the Department of the Interior announced for public comment in April 2022.  

The final WEAs may be further reduced after using feedback from government partners, ocean users and stakeholders. BOEM acknowledges that there may be potential conflicts and is seeking comment on them, including a potential U.S. Coast Guard safety fairway for vessels, commercial fishing, a NASA danger zone, and marine habitat areas.

BOEM intends to further explore these areas with the Department of Defense, USCG, NASA, and other ocean users, such as the fishing industry, to collect additional information.

The next step in BOEM’s renewable energy leasing process is a 30-day public comment period starting November 16, 2022. During the comment period, BOEM will hold two virtual meetings to engage the fishing community and environmental organizations to gather more information on the draft WEAs and discuss next steps. These meetings will be open to the public and will be held on the following dates and times: 

To comment, go to regulations.gov and search for docket no. BOEM-2022-0072. BOEM will accept comments from Nov. 16, 2022 through 11:59 pm ET on December 16, 2022.

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