[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 128 (Tuesday, July 3, 2012)]
[Pages 39508-39509]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-16155]



Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

[Docket No. BOEM-2012-0048]

Commercial Wind Lease Issuance and Site Assessment Activities on 
the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Offshore Rhode Island and 

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

ACTION: Notice of the availability of an environmental assessment.


SUMMARY: BOEM has prepared an environmental assessment (EA)

[[Page 39509]]

considering the reasonably foreseeable environmental impacts and 
socioeconomic effects of issuing renewable energy leases and subsequent 
site characterization activities (geophysical, geotechnical, 
archaeological, and biological surveys needed to develop specific 
project proposals on those leases) in an identified Wind Energy Area 
(WEA) on the OCS offshore Rhode Island (RI) and 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 in the WEA. 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. The EA can be found online at http://www.boem.gov/Renewable-Energy-Program/Smart-from-the-Start/Index.aspx.

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

Renewable Energy Programs, 381 Elden Street, HM 1328, Herndon, Virginia 
20170-4817, (703) 787-1340 or [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On August 18, 2011, BOEM published a Notice 
of Intent (NOI) to prepare an EA, which requested public comments on 
alternatives to be considered in the EA as well as measures (e.g., 
limitations on activities based on technology, distance from shore, or 
timing) that would mitigate impacts to environmental resources and 
socioeconomic conditions that could result from leasing, site 
characterization, and site assessment in and around the Call Area (76 
FR 51391). The Call Area is located within the Area of Mutual Interest 
(AMI), as described by a Memorandum of Understanding between the 
Governors of RI and MA. Comments received in response to the NOI can be 
viewed at: http://www.regulations.gov by searching for Docket ID BOEM-
    On February 24, 2012, BOEM announced the area identification of the 
RI/MA WEA. The WEA does not include the ``high value'' fishing grounds 
located in the Call Area. This EA analyzes the WEA for leasing and 
approval of site assessment plans as the proposed action under the 
National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f). In this EA, 
BOEM also identifies other alternatives to the proposed action that 
could exclude additional portions of the WEA from leasing based on a 
number of factors, such as potential effects to right whales, the 
viewshed, and existing telecommunication cables.
    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 considered in the EA that are 
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.


    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-2012-0048, 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 RI and MA'' to: 
Program Manager, Office of Renewable Energy Programs, Bureau of Ocean 
Energy Management, 381 Elden Street, HM 1328, Herndon, Virginia 20170-
    Comments must be received or postmarked no later than August 2, 
2012. All written comments received or postmarked during the comment 
period will be made available to the public.

    Dated: June 26, 2012.
Tommy P. Beaudreau,
Director, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
[FR Doc. 2012-16155 Filed 7-2-12; 8:45 am]