On Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed Ocean Wind 1 project off the New Jersey coast.
The DEIS is the culmination of extensive technical evaluations and multi-agency coordination over the past year, marking a major step forward in the federal review process for the highly anticipated project.
In a statement, the governor’s office says that the state looks forward to reviewing the DEIS and working with BOEM and the developer to move the project through the next step at the federal level.
“With today’s release of the DEIS, New Jersey is one step closer to bringing its vision for a more sustainable future to fruition,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “The multi-faceted impact of Ocean Wind 1 cannot be overstated; in addition to spurring economic growth and generating new jobs, the project will help us accomplish significant GHG [greenhouse gas] reductions, upon which the future of our state depends. Alongside our private and federal partners, we are determined to ensure that the project achieves its optimal potential while mitigating impacts on our beautiful state’s natural ecosystems.”
The BOEM will publish its Notice of Availability June 24, which opens a 45-day public comment period that will close on Aug. 8.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will now review the DEIS, which analyzes the potential impacts to natural, historic and cultural resources, and will provide feedback as a cooperating agency to BOEM.
“The responsible development of offshore wind is a critical component of New Jersey’s future energy portfolio to lessen the impacts of climate change,” said DEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette. “The release of Ocean Wind 1’s DEIS marks a significant milestone in the evaluation of the first offshore wind project off the coast of New Jersey. Over the coming weeks DEP will thoroughly evaluate and provide comment on the DEIS to ensure the project has taken all necessary steps to avoid potential adverse impacts to New Jersey’s natural, historic, and cultural resources.”
“BOEM’s publication of the DEIS comes at a critical moment for New Jerseyans, who are already experiencing the devastating effects of the climate crisis,” said Jane Cohen, director of the Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy. “Frequent storms, severe flooding and heat waves are evidence that the impacts of climate change will not diminish without proactive intervention. Today’s announcement encourages us to continue our journey toward a clean energy economy founded upon ample opportunity and jobs for all New Jerseyans.”
The environmental review process now moves to a Final EIS, which BOEM is expected to release in March 2023, followed by a Record of Decision in April 2023.