[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 155 (Friday, August 10, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 47876-47877]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-19592]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

[Docket No. BOEM-2012-0049]


Intent To Prepare Environmental Impact Statements: Potential 
Commercial Wind Lease Issuance and Decision Regarding Approval of 
Construction and Operations Plan on the Atlantic Outer Continental 
Shelf (OCS) Offshore Maine

AGENCY: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), Interior.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: On October 12, 2011, BOEM received an unsolicited request from 
Statoil North America Inc. (Statoil NA) for a commercial wind lease on 
the OCS offshore Maine. Upon the submittal of a construction and 
operations plan (COP), BOEM intends to prepare an environmental impact 
statement (EIS) that will consider the environmental consequences 
associated with the Hywind Maine project proposed by Statoil NA, and to 
obtain public input regarding important environmental issues that 
should be considered in the EIS.

    Authority: The Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS is published 
pursuant to 40 CFR 1501.7.

DATES: Comments should be submitted no later than November 8, 2012.
    Submission Procedures: Federal, state, local government agencies, 
tribal governments, and other interested parties are requested to send 
their written comments on the important issues to be considered in the 
EIS by either of the following two methods:
    1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the 
entry titled ``Enter Keyword or ID,'' enter BOEM-2012-0049, and then 
click ``search.'' Follow the instructions to submit public comments and 
view supporting and related materials available for this notice.
    2. By U.S. Postal Service or other delivery service, send your 
comments and information to the following address: Bureau of Ocean 
Energy Management, Office of Renewable Energy, 381 Elden Street, HM 
1328, Herndon, Virginia 20170-4817.
    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comments to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michelle Morin, BOEM, Environment 
Branch for Renewable Energy, 381 Elden Street, HM 1328, Herndon, 
Virginia 20170-4817; (703) 787-1722 or michelle.morin@boem.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

1. Background

    Statoil NA's proposed project, Hywind Maine, would consist of four 
3-megawatt (MW) floating wind turbine generators (WTGs) configured for 
a total of 12 MW. The project would be located in water depths greater 
than 100 meters approximately 12 nautical miles off the coast of Maine. 
Statoil NA's short-term objective is to construct the Hywind Maine 
project to demonstrate the commercial potential of the existing 
floating offshore Hywind technology, while responding to a 
corresponding Request for Proposal issued by the Maine Public Utilities 
Commission. The company's long-term objective, not represented in this 
leasing request by Statoil NA, is to construct a full-scale, deepwater 
floating wind turbine facility that leverages economies of scale as 
well as technical and operational enhancements developed in the Hywind 
Maine project. The full-scale project would be subject to a subsequent 
and separate leasing and environmental review process.
    BOEM will publish a Request for Interest (RFI) concurrently with 
this

[[Page 47877]]

NOI to determine whether competitive interest exists for the area 
requested by Statoil NA, as required by 43 U.S.1337(p)(3). The RFI also 
requests that interested and affected parties comment and provide 
information about site conditions and multiple uses within the area 
identified in the notice that would be relevant to the proposed project 
or its impacts. Comments received on the RFI will be included as part 
of the scoping process for the EIS.
    If BOEM determines there is no competition, Statoil NA would submit 
a construction and operations plan (COP) to BOEM that describes the 
proposed construction, activities, and decommissioning plans for all 
proposed facilities and includes the results of any site 
characterization surveys that have been conducted, such as geophysical, 
geotechnical, archaeological, and biological surveys. See 30 CFR 
585.620-585.629. However, if BOEM determines there is competition, then 
it will proceed with the competitive leasing process outlined in 30 CFR 
585.211-225. In the event there is competition, BOEM is likely to 
proceed under the ``Smart from the Start'' initiative, as it has 
elsewhere on the Atlantic OCS, by preparing an environmental assessment 
(EA) that analyzes the potential impacts of lease issuance and 
associated site characterization and assessment activities. 
Implementation of this process, including the preparation of such NEPA 
analysis would necessitate issuance of a new NOI. Whether following 
competitive or non-competitive procedures, BOEM will comply with all 
applicable requirements of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 
prior to making a decision on whether or not to issue a lease and 
approve, disapprove, or approve with modifications the associated 
plan(s).
    Statoil NA's October 12, 2011 application and map of the proposed 
lease area can be found at the following URL: http://www.boem.gov/Renewable-Energy-Program/State-Activities/Maine.aspx.

2. Proposed Action and Scope of Analysis

    This notice starts the formal scoping process for the EIS under 40 
CFR 150.7, and solicits information regarding important environmental 
issues, alternatives, and mitigation that should be considered in the 
EIS. BOEM will use responses to this NOI and the EIS public input 
process to satisfy the public involvement requirements of the National 
Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470f), as provided in 36 CFR 
800.2(d)(3), and is seeking information from the public on the 
identification of historic properties that might be impacted by the 
Statoil NA project. The analyses contained within the EIS will also 
support compliance with other environmental statutes (e.g., Endangered 
Species Act, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, 
and Marine Mammal Protection Act).
    The proposed action that will be the subject of the EIS is the 
issuance of a commercial lease and the approval or approval with 
modification of the COP for Statoil NA's Hywind Maine project offshore 
Maine. In addition to the no action alternative (i.e., no issuance of a 
commercial lease or approval of the COP), other alternatives may be 
considered, such as exclusion of certain areas from project siting or 
modification of project activities. The EIS will consider the 
reasonably foreseeable environmental consequences associated with the 
project, including the impacts of site characterization surveys that 
may be undertaken by Statoil NA and the construction, operations, 
maintenance, and decommissioning of the four WTGs that would be 
serially interconnected with infield cables and with a subsea export 
cable to shore. After a COP is submitted and a draft EIS issued, the 
public will have further opportunity to comment.

3. Cooperating Agencies

    BOEM invites Federal, state, and local government agencies, as well 
as tribal governments, to consider becoming cooperating agencies in the 
preparation of this EIS. Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) 
regulations implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA defines 
cooperating agencies as those with ``jurisdiction by law or special 
expertise'' (40 CFR 1508.5). Potential cooperating agencies should 
consider their authority and capacity to assume the responsibilities of 
a cooperating agency and remember that an agency's role in the 
environmental analysis neither enlarges nor diminishes the final 
decision-making authority of any other agency involved in the NEPA 
process.
    Upon request, BOEM will provide potential cooperating agencies with 
a draft Memorandum of Agreement that includes a schedule with critical 
action dates and milestones, mutual responsibilities, designated points 
of contact, and expectations for handling pre-decisional information. 
Agencies should also consider the ''Factors for Determining Cooperating 
Agency Status'' in Attachment 1 to CEQ's January 30, 2002, Memorandum 
for the Heads of Federal Agencies: Cooperating Agencies in Implementing 
the Procedural Requirements of the NEPA. A copy of this document is 
available at: http://ceg.hss.doe.gov/nepa/regs/cooperating/cooperatingagenciesmemorandum.html and at: http://ceg.hss.doe.gov/nepa/regs/cooperating/cooperatingagencymemofactors.html.
    BOEM, as the lead agency, will not provide financial assistance to 
cooperating agencies. Even if an organization is not a cooperating 
agency, opportunities will exist to provide information and comments to 
BOEM during the normal public input phases of the NEPA/EIS process.

4. Public Scoping Meetings

    Public scoping meetings will be held in Maine later this year. 
Specific times and venues will be posted on the BOEM Web site and 
published in the Federal Register per 40 CFR 1506.6.

    Dated: August 1, 2012.
Tommy P. Beaudreau,
Director, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
[FR Doc. 2012-19592 Filed 8-9-12; 8:45 am]
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