The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has taken a significant step towards the development of offshore wind farm projects in Maryland. The agency recently released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which evaluates various scenarios for future projects.
The DEIS includes options such as “no action,” which would result in the disapproval of the projects, and a “proposed action” to approve U.S. Wind’s Skipjack project plans according to the company’s recommended approach. Additionally, several alternate approaches that were conceived during the public scope-of-work process last year are also being considered.
BOEM has announced a 45-day public comment period, starting from Friday, Oct. 13, which will allow members of the public to provide their feedback on the DEIS. In order to facilitate public participation, four public meetings will be held in the second half of October.
U.S. Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski praised the release of the DEIS, noting that it is a significant milestone for offshore wind in Maryland. He stated, “BOEM’s draft environmental impact statement sets us on a path toward starting construction on our offshore wind projects in 2025, putting Maryland’s goals that much closer to reality. We are proud to be the first to deliver this clean energy to Delmarva and look forward to the day we can get steel in the water.”
The public comment period on the DEIS began on Oct. 6, allowing individuals to submit written comments or attend in-person meetings. Two of the meetings will be held in person, while the other two will be conducted online. The details for the in-person meetings are as follows:
– Tuesday, Oct. 24, at 5 p.m., at Ocean City Elementary School, 12828 Center Drive, Ocean City, Md.
– Thursday, Oct. 26, at 5 p.m., at Indian River High School, 29772 Armory Rd., Dagsboro.
The virtual public meetings are scheduled for:
– Thursday, Oct. 19, at 1 p.m.
– Monday, Oct. 30, at 5 p.m.
Those interested in participating in the meetings online can access the virtual meeting room on BOEM’s website.
BOEM has dedicated a webpage to the U.S. Wind project, where interested individuals can find more information. The DEIS itself can also be accessed on BOEM’s website.
The release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement marks a significant milestone in the progress towards offshore wind projects in Maryland. By opening the comment period and providing opportunities for public engagement, BOEM is ensuring that the concerns and perspectives of stakeholders are taken into account as the projects move forward. The development of offshore wind farms in Maryland will not only contribute to the state’s clean energy goals but also provide economic opportunities and environmental benefits.