NARRAGANSETT – Coastal Resources Management Council staff have no objection to Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm and Block Island Transmission System projects, according to a staff report released late last week.
The report, signed by CRMC Executive Director Grover J. Fugate and other staff members, recommends the adoption of 17 stipulations that include avoiding potential impacts to North Atlantic right whales during construction, conducting post-construction avian monitoring, hiring a third party fisheries liaison, conducting a survey of recreational boating in the vicinity of the wind farm, and maintaining a cable burial depth of at least 10 feet below the ocean bottom and the beach sediment surface.
“The project will result in impacts to the benthic environment, avian resources, fish and fisheries, as well as view sheds both in general and from historic resources,” the report reads. “The applicant [Deepwater Wind] has endeavored to minimize the impacts through project design, construction methods and consultation with regulatory authorities and interested parties. In some cases, the actual level of potential impact is difficult to quantify and some impacts will not be thoroughly understood until monitoring of the completed demonstration project is undertaken.”
CRMC’s Ocean SAMP Subcommittee will consider the staff report and testimony taken during a public hearing scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 4.
“We are pleased that the staff report is complete and that CRMC’s substantive hearings on America’s first offshore wind farm are now scheduled. We look forward to speaking to the OSAMP subcommittee and receiving additional public input. We are more confident than ever in the future of offshore wind in the U.S., and it begins here in Rhode Island.”
During the hearing, the subcommittee will consider the petition of Deepwater Wind to construct and maintain the Block Island Wind Farm in state waters.