On October 28, 2021, the Department of Interior announced three major milestones to advance commercial offshore wind energy development, one of those impacting the Gulf of Mexico.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (“BOEM”) will publish a Call for Information and Nominations (“Call”) on November 1, 2021 in the Federal Register. The Call will allow a 45-day window, or until December 16, 2021, for submissions indicating interest in commercial leasing and/or public comment. The relevant area includes 30 million acres within the Gulf of Mexico bordering Texas and Louisiana west of the Mississippi River.
The Call will allow BOEM to better decide whether and where wind energy leases may be issued. BOEM will need to consider the comments and submissions, conduct an environmental review as required under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), and consult with agencies at the state and federal level, as well as any impacted Tribes, before making leasing decisions.
The full process will allow for multiple opportunities of public input. After an environmental review is conducted under NEPA, BOEM will consider the Call area’s existing uses, feedback from governmental task forces, and again, the public. BOEM may then decide to publish a Proposed Sale Notice describing the areas available for potential wind energy leasing and the proposed terms and conditions of these leases.
Comments may be submitted using the regulations.gov portal and searching for Docket No. BOEM-2021-0077, or by mailing written comments to BOEM’s office in New Orleans. Keep in mind that BOEM does not consider anonymous comments.
Department of Interior Press Release: https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/interior-department-takes-action-advance-offshore-wind-atlantic-and-gulf-mexico
BOEM’s announcement of Gulf of Mexico activities: https://www.boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/gulf-mexico-activities
Map of the Call Area: https://www.boem.gov/sites/default/files/documents/renewable-energy/state-activities/Gulf%20of%20Mexico%20OCS%20Region%20Call%20for%20Information%20and%20Nominations%20Map.pdf