July 4, 2022

Volume XII, Number 185

Advertisement
Advertisement

BOEM Prepares for California Offshore Wind Energy Area with Request for Public Comments on Draft Environmental Assessment

In line with the Biden administration’s focus on expanding offshore wind energy, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is seeking public review and comments on the draft Morro Bay Wind Energy Area (WEA) environmental assessment (EA) by Friday, May 6, 2022. The EA for the Morro Bay WEA “considers potential environmental and socioeconomic effects from issuing offshore wind energy leases and related site characterization and assessment activities.” Written comments may be filed or shared virtually at the April 14 or April 19 meeting.

The Morro Bay WEA covers approximately 376 square miles located 20 miles off the coast of San Luis Obispo County, California. Estimates predict that the Morro Bay WEA could produce up to 3GW of energy, providing power to more than 1 million homes. If realized, the Morro Bay WEA would be a success for the BOEM California Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force, which is actively identifying potential areas in federal waters offshore California that may be suitable for offshore renewable energy development, in collaboration with local, state, federal and tribal governments.

More than 300 individuals participated in BOEM’s EA scoping meetings in December and January, and 1,262 related comments (86 unique submissions and 1,175 form letters) have already been provided.  Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that BOEM will likely get considerable feedback during the current comment period from renewable energy companies, related trade associations, and service and construction providers; local, state, federal and tribal governments; the fishing and shipping industries; non-governmental organizations, notably conservation groups; traditional energy companies; recreation and tourism companies; and other entities with a stake in offshore wind energy production.

Additionally, BOEM is also requesting comments on the WEA’s impact to historic properties, consistent with BOEM’s National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 Programmatic Agreement with California related to offshore wind energy development.

While still in BOEM’s “planning and analysis” phase, stakeholders should plan to provide written or verbal comments before May 6, 2022, especially given the potential for leasing activities later this year and the precedent the Morro Bay WEA is likely to set for wind energy production off the coast of California for years to come.

 

Copyright © 2022, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 103
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

About this Author

Jason A. Hill Counsel Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
Counsel

Jason counsels clients through complex natural resource litigation, compliance, and regulatory issues arising under a wide array of federal natural resource and energy statutes and regulations.

With over 20 years of experience in the environmental and natural resources space, Jason provides clients with strategic solutions to business and operational challenges set in motion by intricate natural resource laws. Particularly, those statutes and regulations surrounding federal public lands, extraction of mineral resources, environmental justice,...

202-419-2046
Kerry McGrath Environmental Lawyer Hunton Andrews Law Firm
Partner

Kerry has extensive experience with permitting and litigation under the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other environmental statutes. She represents groups from a wide variety of industry sectors, including utilities, mining, oil and gas, renewables, agriculture, consumer products, housing and development, and related trade associations and industry coalitions. Kerry has significant experience with federal litigation, drafting comments on administrative rulemakings and counseling clients on compliance with regulatory...

+1 202 955 1519
Andrew Turner Environmental Lawyer Hunton Andrews Kurth
Partner

Andrew has worked extensively on natural resources, focusing on wetlands, endangered species and the marine environment. He has been influential in shaping jurisprudence at the intersection of environmental, energy and marine resource laws to the benefit of regulated industry and the environment.

Andrew works with clients when their activities involve wetlands, endangered species, federal lands, and waterfront and offshore resources. He has dedicated years of practice to navigating the complex natural resource framework, drawing the connections to offer clients efficient strategies...

+1 202 955 1658
Samuel L. Brown Environmental Practice Hunton Andrews Kurth San Francisco, CA
Partner

A former US EPA lawyer, Sam brings deep knowledge and practical experience to his clients’ environmental and natural resource concerns, helping them navigate the demands of regulatory agencies, ensure facility and corporate compliance, respond to government investigations and defend against enforcement actions.

Sam is experienced in domestic and international environmental and natural resource matters that impact client business and operations. His clients primarily include public and private sector manufacturing, mining, electric utility, oil and gas, municipal drinking water and...

415-975-3714
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement