BOEM completes Gulf of Mexico environmental review

BOEM completes Gulf of Mexico environmental review
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The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has issued a final Environmental Impact Assessment (EA) on the potential impacts of offshore wind farms in the Gulf of Mexico. The assessment, which was conducted collaboratively with the Gulf of Mexico Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force, found no significant environmental impacts. Already a major energy hub for the offshore oil and gas sector, the Gulf of Mexico is expected to be an important contributor to America’s offshore wind industry.

On October 31, 2022, BOEM announced two wind energy areas (WEAs) offshore Texas and Louisiana, totaling about 682,000 acres. On February 22, 2023, BOEM announced its proposal for the first offshore wind lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico for areas within the WTs.

BOEM has prepared the EA for the entire call area to allow more flexibility for potential identification of additional WTs and to provide National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) coverage in the event non-competitive leases and research leases are proposed. If BOEM decides to proceed with the sale, the Bureau will issue a Final Sale Notice at least 30 days prior to the sale, announcing the time and date of the lease sale and the companies qualified to participate.

For all proposed offshore wind projects, BOEM prepares Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) to analyze the environmental impacts of the projects before deciding on a permit. The EIS is produced in consultation with tribes and relevant government agencies, and informed by input from key stakeholders, marine users, and the public.

The Gulf of Mexico is known for its position as a premier offshore energy hub, led by low-carbon barrels of oil. Resumption of a long-term oil and gas lease program and new offshore wind lease sales provide a foundation for the continued success of the Gulf of Mexico’s remarkable and irreplaceable energy portfolio, said Erik Milito, President of the National Ocean Industries Association.


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