- Offshore

Massachusetts and Rhode Island Port Access Route Study: Notice of availability and request for comment

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The First Coast Guard District in Boston published in the Federal Register a request for comments on the draft Offshore Massachusetts and Rhode Island Port Access Route Study.

The goal of the study, which was conducted between March 26 – December 15, 2019, is to enhance navigational safety in the study area by examining existing shipping routes and waterway uses. To accomplish this goal, the Coast Guard has undertaken measures to determine what, if any, navigational safety concerns currently exist with vessel transits, examine existing shipping routes and waterway uses, and evaluate the need for establishing vessel routing measures in light of current and anticipated future demands associated with offshore wind leases in the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Wind Energy Area. A draft version of the report is available in the docket for viewing. The Coast Guard seeks public comments on the content and development of the report.

Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before March 16, 2020.

Submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2019-0131 using the Federal rulemaking portal

Questions about this notice should be directed to Mr. Craig Lapiejko in the First Coast Guard District’s Waterways Management office at (617) 223-8351 or craig.d.lapiejko@uscg.mil.

Background

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has leased seven adjacent areas of the Outer Continental Shelf south of Martha’s Vineyard and east of Rhode Island that together constitute the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Wind Energy Area. Seven distinct offshore renewable energy installations (“wind farms”) could potentially be constructed, each with its own number, size, type of wind turbines, and distinct turbine layout. The topic of safe navigation routes to facilitate vessel transit through the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Wind Energy Area has been discussed at various forums throughout southeastern New England. The forums have included participation by the Coast Guard, other federal, state, and local agencies, fishing industry representatives, and myriad stakeholders. Various different transit plans have been proposed through these different forums in which no consensus of all stakeholders was reached.

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