Virginia will begin development of a Virginia Ocean Plan in October of this year. NOAA approved the Virginia CZM Program’s Section 309 five year grant strategy to develop a state ocean plan that will address identification of additional offshore wind energy lease areas, incorporate marine mammal/sea turtle conservation, provide a stakeholder engagement coordinator for fisheries and other issues, and provide a comprehensive approach to ocean planning off Virginia’s coast. Some funds may be available each year for additional data collection or small research projects. The plan will address use conflicts and attempt to maximize sustainable uses while minimizing ocean resource impacts. The plan will also seek input from the neighboring states of North Carolina and Maryland and will also contract with MARCO program staff to serve as a liaison between the Virginia Ocean Planning Committee and MARCO/MACO committees and work groups.
New York State agencies joined the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and other federal, state, local, and tribal government partners for a two-day New York Bight Task Force meeting on April 14 and April 16, 2021. This BOEM-led intergovernmental group met to provide feedback on the recently finalized New York Bight Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) and to discuss next steps prior to auctioning new renewable energy lease areas offshore of New York and New Jersey. At the Task Force meeting, BOEM unveiled up to eight (8) lease areas that could generate 7.6 gigawatts of renewable energy to power approximately 2.7 million homes. BOEM will prepare an Environmental Assessment to analyze the potential environmental consequences of auctioning these new lease areas and the various site assessment and characterization activities that future lease holders would be authorized to undertake. For additional information, visit https://www.boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/new-york-bight.