[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 213 (Friday, November 2, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 66185-66186]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-26905]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

[Docket No. BOEM-2012-0086]


Environmental Assessment for Potential Commercial Wind Lease 
Issuance and Site Assessment Activities on the Atlantic Outer 
Continental Shelf (OCS) Offshore Massachusetts

AGENCY: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of the availability of an environmental assessment.

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SUMMARY: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has prepared an 
environmental assessment (EA) considering the reasonably foreseeable 
environmental impacts and socioeconomic effects of issuing

[[Page 66186]]

renewable energy leases and subsequent site characterization activities 
(geophysical, geotechnical, archaeological, and biological surveys 
needed to develop specific project proposals, which will be subject to 
subsequent environmental review, on those leases) in an identified Wind 
Energy Area (WEA) on the OCS offshore Massachusetts (MA). This EA also 
considers the reasonably foreseeable environmental impacts associated 
with the approval of site assessment activities (including the 
installation and operation of meteorological towers and buoys) on the 
leases that may be issued. This EA does not consider issues related to 
possible later project development. The purpose of this notice is to 
inform the public of the availability of the EA for review and to 
solicit public comments on the EA.
    BOEM will conduct public information meetings on Tuesday, November 
13, 2012, in Boston and New Bedford, Wednesday, November 14, 2012, in 
Vineyard Haven on Martha's Vineyard, and Thursday, November 15, 2012, 
on Nantucket, in Massachusetts to explain the proposed activities and 
provide additional opportunities for public input on the EA. Details on 
the meeting locations and times, as well as the EA, can be found online 
at http://www.boem.gov/Renewable-Energy-Program/Smart-from-the-Start/Index.aspx.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michelle Morin, BOEM Office of 
Renewable Energy, 381 Elden Street, HM 1328, Herndon, Virginia 20170-
4817, (703) 787-1340 or michelle.morin@boem.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On February 6, 2012, BOEM published a Notice 
of Intent (NOI) to prepare an EA, which requested public comments on 
important environmental issues and alternatives to be considered in the 
EA; measures (e.g., limitations on activities based on technology, 
distance from shore, or timing) that would minimize impacts to 
environmental resources; and socioeconomic conditions that could result 
from leasing, site characterization, and site assessment in and around 
the Call Area (77 FR 5830). The Call Area is located offshore 
Massachusetts. Issues and impacts associated with potential project 
development will be considered in subsequent environmental analyses 
after the submittal of project proposals, if any. Comments received in 
response to the NOI can be viewed at: http://www.regulations.gov by 
searching for Docket ID BOEM-2011-0116.
    On May 30, 2012, BOEM announced the identification of the MA WEA, 
which excluded high value sea duck habitat and some fishing grounds in 
the Call Area. The proposed action considered by this EA, under the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), is 
leasing and approval of site assessment plans for the entire WEA. BOEM 
also identified alternatives to the proposed action that would exclude 
certain portions of the WEA from leasing because of environmental and 
cultural concerns. Additional information on the MA area identification 
process can be found at: http://www.boem.gov/Renewable-Energy-Program/State-Activities/Massachusetts.aspx.
    BOEM is seeking public input on the EA, including comments on the 
completeness and adequacy of the environmental analysis and on the 
measures and operating conditions described in the EA and designed to 
reduce or eliminate potential environmental impacts. BOEM will consider 
public comments on the EA in determining whether to issue a Finding of 
No Significant Impact (FONSI), or conduct additional analysis under 
NEPA.

Comments

    Federal, state, and local government agencies, tribal governments, 
and other interested parties are requested to submit their written 
comments on the EA in one of the following ways:
    1. Electronically: http://www.regulations.gov. In the entry 
entitled ``Enter Keyword or ID,'' enter BOEM-2012-0086, then click 
``search.'' Follow the instructions to submit public comments and view 
supporting and related materials available for this document.
    2. In written form, delivered by hand or by mail, enclosed in an 
envelope labeled ``Comments on Commercial Wind Lease Issuance and Site 
Assessment Activities on the Atlantic OCS Offshore MA'' to: Program 
Manager, Office of Renewable Energy, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, 
381 Elden Street, HM 1328, Herndon, Virginia 20170-4817.
    Comments must be received or postmarked no later than December 3, 
2012. All written comments received or postmarked during the comment 
period will be made available to the public.

    Authority: This Notice of the Availability (NOA) of an EA is 
published pursuant to 43 CFR 46.305.

    Dated: October 24, 2012.
Tommy P. Beaudreau,
Director, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
[FR Doc. 2012-26905 Filed 11-1-12; 8:45 am]
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