Last Friday, Minerals Management Service of the Department of Interior released its Draft Programatic Environmnetal Impact Statement for the Outer Continental Shelf. This means that the federal government has taken its first step in formulating national policy for offshore renewables. The outer continental shelf or OCS is commonly defined as waters beyond the 3 mile coastal jurisdiction of states to 200 hundred miles offshore. The following passages appear in the Editorial “A Poor Start” in today's Cape Cod Times.
For five years, we have been promoting an ocean zoning policy, a comprehensive plan to protect certain offshore areas from commercial development. While the commercial development of specific areas of federal waters is appropriate for renewable energy projects, the federal government, in consultation with state and local agencies and other stakeholders, should identify key areas that are off limits to development.
We believe that state and federal governments should zone ocean tracts for the offshore wind industry in a similar way. Just as a power plant would be inappropriate on the Cape Cod National Seashore, a wind farm is inappropriate on Nantucket Sound.
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