Please select your home edition
Edition
Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW LEADERBOARD

Additional environmental review for offshore wind farms skips over Lake Erie Wind Farm Project

by Scott Croft 24 Aug 2019 13:44 UTC

A recent move by the federal government to expand the environmental review of the first major offshore wind farm in the U.S., Vineyard Wind, and the "cumulative impact" of offshore wind projects off the Atlantic Coast has left some in the Great Lakes asking why Lake Erie's proposed Icebreaker Wind project was not included. According to the agency tasked with completing the enhanced environmental review, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the new effort is a result of "comments received from stakeholders and cooperating agencies request a more robust cumulative analysis," and comes in response to concerns from anglers, the fishing industry, and coastal communities.

BOEM's Vineyard Wind website reports, "Considering such comments, and taking into account recent state offshore wind procurement announcements, BOEM is expanding its cumulative analysis of projects within its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Because BOEM has determined that a greater build out of offshore wind capacity is more reasonably foreseeable than was analyzed in the initial draft EIS, BOEM has decided to supplement the draft EIS and solicit comments on its revised cumulative impacts analysis." The agency, which is part of the Department of Interior, further acknowledges that there will be an opportunity to comment on the supplemental EIS, which it expects to complete by no later than early 2020.

The fate of Icebreaker, to be located 8 miles from downtown Cleveland, is currently in the hands of the Ohio Power Siting Board and in the last stages of a multi-year decision-making process.

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the nation's largest recreational boating advocacy, services and safety group, says it's puzzled as to why the first project planned for freshwaters of North America that would initially site six turbines with backers planning for hundreds more did not garner the same consideration as other wind projects including Massachusetts' 84-turbine Vineyard Wind and others in planning stages off the Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina coasts.

"Regardless of how you feel about wind energy, all wind turbine projects must be treated equally, regardless of siting, in salt and freshwaters," said BoatUS Manager of Government Affairs David Kennedy. "We have BoatUS members on both sides of this issue, but what unites them is the need to ensure an environmental review process that doesn't arbitrarily treat projects differently." BoatUS has more than 104,000 dues-paying members in the four states bordering Lake Erie.

Lake Erie Marine Trades Association President Michelle Burke has previously raised concerns about Icebreaker's environmental assessment shortcomings. Said Burke recently in Soundings Trade Only's Dealer Outlook blog, "... This (Icebreaker) would be the first such (wind farm) installation on fresh water, the source of drinking water for 12 million people." Burke and others are concerned about stirring up contaminated Cuyahoga River dredging spoils that were dumped years ago into the lake, potentially in areas of future turbine sites.

Michigan Boating Industries Association Executive Director Nicki Polan added, "While the (environmental) reviews will initially focus on the East Coast, we will immediately urge BOEM to put the proposed project on Lake Erie on their radar, too." Polan says a full Environmental Impact Statement on Icebreaker is required before any construction is permitted.

Related Articles

BoatUS/NWSA Leadership in Women's Sailing Award
Margaret Pommert has been called 'a force of nature' for her enthusiasm and effectiveness Margaret Pommert of Seattle, Washington, has been named recipient of the 2020 BoatUS/National Women's Sailing Association (NWSA) Leadership in Women's Sailing Award. Posted on 21 May
8 ways to love boating while waiting out COVID-19
Become a smarter sailor while saving big bucks Offshore Sailing School's learn to sail, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary's Modern Marine Navigation courses free through May 15 Posted on 25 Apr
BoatUS questions work stoppage on the Erie Canal
The New York State Canal System has long been recognized as essential transportation infrastructure The New York State Canal System has long been recognized as essential transportation infrastructure, important to irrigation and flood control, the upstate economy, and communities that line its 524-mile length. Posted on 22 Apr
Three critical things before getting a boat loan
It's high season for shopping for a loan to finance a recreational boat purchase It's high season for shopping for a loan to finance a recreational boat purchase, according Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS). Posted on 27 Feb
Future for Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Recreational boaters and anglers need to speak up now on restoration plan For the first time since its creation in 1990, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is giving recreational boaters and anglers the unique opportunity to help shape its future by commenting on the draft Restoration Blueprint. Posted on 26 Oct 2019
Sailing Convention for Women on Feb. 1, 2020
Combines learning, camaraderie and fun in Corona del Mar, California Where do women sailors go to learn? The answer is a place where they can enjoy the camaraderie of other women sailors, learn from top instructors both on the water and in the classroom, and have plenty of fun. Posted on 19 Oct 2019
The secrets of a stormproof marina
Four signs to look for in a hurricane-safe marina The statistics prove that hauling your boat out of the water and storing it ashore before a hurricane strikes greatly lowers the chance you'll need to file an insurance claim after the storm passes. Posted on 11 Sep 2019
BoatUS alert: Boaters need to prepare for Dorian
BoatUS has app to track storm; offers online guides for protecting boats Forecasters say Tropical Storm Dorian is spending more time over the warm waters of the Atlantic gathering strength and could strike the southeastern U.S. coast as a full-blown category 2 hurricane (96-110 mph wind speed) early next week. Posted on 30 Aug 2019
Sea Scout Ship takes top honors
Southern Virginia Sea Scout Ship wins National Award sponsored by BoatUS With about 4,500 teens participating across the U.S., Sea Scouting is a specialized, co-educational program from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) that improves youth boating skills with on-water practice, outdoor, social, and service experiences Posted on 29 Aug 2019
BoatUS offers updated Hurricane Preparation Guide
Who else wants to protect their boat from hurricane damage? If you want to know how to best protect recreational boats from damage in a hurricane, ask the experts who've been tasked with cleaning up the mess for nearly 40 years. Posted on 22 Aug 2019
Sailing Holidays 2019 - BOTTOMCyclops Marine 2020 - FOOTERNorth Sails 2019 - NSVictoryList - Footer