New Jersey Wants More Time to Gather Info for New York Bight Lease

The Governor of New Jersey Phil Murphy has requested the US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to extend the public comment period for the newly proposed offshore wind lease sale in the New York Bight, published by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in April.

Murphy has asked Zinke for a 180-day extension emphasizing that the allotted 45 days are not enough for gathering information BOEM needs in order to conduct an area identification process for the sites, as well as data on recreational and commercial fisheries that operate within the call areas.

Information from the New Jersey fishing industry is critical because its main fishing grounds are in the areas that New York submitted to BOEM for potential wind energy development, with two of these areas closest to the New Jersey coast, the governor said.

Besides fisheries, Murphy is concerned with the visibility of potential offshore wind projects, which is part of BOEM's request of information from "Interested or Affected Parties" on 14 issues. Murphy says that the projects "may directly impact New Jersey residents and New Jersey maritime interests" since there are no visibility studies by which the issue can be evaluated.

BOEM also requires information on the transmission system, including a general description of the proposed path and potential interconnection points, which Murphy requests to be separated from the lease since it is unclear how the information will be used in the proceeding.

According to Murphy, BOEM issued the call because New York has carried out studies of the offshore wind areas and conducted its own stakeholder process to identify the areas of interest, however, New Jersey stakeholders have not yet been meaningfully involved in the process and are just beginning the review and stakeholder procedures.

The call includes four areas, delineated as Fairways North, Fairways South, Hudson North, and Hudson South, which comprise approximately 2,047 square nautical miles.

New Jersey is one of the US East Coast states that has a big appetite for offshore wind. Namely, Murphy signed an executive order in February directing the state towards the goal of generating 3.5GW of offshore wind by 2030.