CHARLESTOWN — The town of Charlestown has agreed to be a consulting party in the review of two offshore wind farm proposals.
The town will provide feedback on a wind farm proposal located between Long Island and the New Jersey coast, as well as another proposal, known as Revolution Wind, which is off the southern coast of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The two projects are being overseen by the Bureau of Ocean Management, which is a division of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
“We would like to be kept in the loop,” said Charlestown Town Council President Deborah Carney. “As the process goes forward, we would like to be informed of what’s going on.”
Carney said the town would forfeit access to information if it did not become a consulting party.
Two consulting firms asked the town to take part in a review of the separate projects. The process, which adheres to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, allows the town to alert the federal government if the town’s historical or cultural resources are affected by either of the proposed projects. The town can also provide feedback on the environmental impact of the proposed projects, as detailed in the National Environmental Policy Act.
Charlestown Town Administrator Mark Stankiewicz said the town’s response to these proposals will be limited.
“Our resources and staff personnel aren’t really up to that kind of task to take an active look at these types of things,” Stankiewicz said. “We’ll be more monitoring [the project review] than anything else. We will probably not be active.” He added that information about the project review will be disseminated to the members of the Town Council.
Amanda Lefton, the director of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said this review process helps to ensure that the projects are carried out responsibly.
“The full environmental and economic benefits of offshore wind can only be realized if we, as a nation, come together to ensure all potential development is considered and advanced responsibly, with transparency, robust stakeholder and tribal engagement and scientific integrity guiding our every move forward,” Lefton said. “A central component to our success will be creating greater certainty for industry, state and local governments, tribal nations and stakeholders.”