Offshore Wind Project Environmental Impact Draft Released, Public Comments Encouraged

By: Savannah Scarborough, Follow South Jersey Intern

SOUTH JERSEY — The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) recently released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind South Project (Atlantic Shores South). The DEIS contains an analysis of the project’s potential environmental impacts, including possible effects on natural, historical, and cultural resources, associated mitigation measures, and alternatives to proposed actions.

Despite potential threats, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy finds the project beneficial in light of his goal to make New Jersey achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2035. 

“BOEM’s announcement of the DEIS for Atlantic Shores South represents an inflection point not just for this pivotal project, but for New Jersey’s clean energy future,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “Responsible offshore wind development remains integral to our pursuit of a 100% clean energy economy by 2035, a pursuit that has only become more necessary and urgent as a result of the worsening climate crisis.”

What officials call a “crucial step in the projects federal review,” the DEIS contains the construction and operations plans proposed by Atlantic Shores South Wind Project for two projects: the Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind Project 1, LLC and the Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind Project 2, LLC, which seek approval to construct, own, operate, and maintain the project consisting of two wind energy facilities on the Outer Continental Shelf (OSC) offshore New Jersey.

In addition to accelerating New Jersey towards its goal to achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2035, the project intends to generate enough clean energy to power 637,000 homes, 3,100 full-time or part-time jobs, and $1.9 billion in economic impact for the state. 

Clean energy, increased jobs, and positive economic changes may seem beneficial for the state to some. However, many residents are concerned and angry about the culmination of ocean wind farm projects on the OSC. Many New Jerseyans have taken to social media to publicize their opinions about the potential consequences of ocean wind farming, including reduction of sea breeze, triggering of warm sea temperatures, and long-lasting impacts on marine life. 

For this reason, when DEIS was announced, a 45-day public review and comment period began. Public comments can be found on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) website. 

According to BOEM’s notice of availability, the public is encouraged to submit comments, which should include your name and address, available for public review online and during regular business hours, in any of the following ways: 

  • Orally or in written form throughout any of the public hearings. 
  • In written form by mail or any other delivery service, enclosed in an envelope labeled “Atlantic Shores South DEIS” and addressed to Chief, Office of Renewable Energy Programs, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, 45600 Woodland Road, Sterling, VA 20166. 

BOEM will address public comments submitted by 11:59 p.m. (eastern time) on July 3, 2023, during the review period at their public hearings. According to BOEM’s notice of availability, its public hearings will be held (eastern time) on the following dates: 

  • Holiday Inn Manahawkin/Long Beach Island, 151 Route 72 West, Manahawkin, NJ 08050; Wednesday, June 21, 2023; 5:00 p.m.
  • Atlantic City Convention Center, 1 Convention Blvd., Atlantic City, NJ 08401; Thursday, June 22, 2023; 5:00 p.m.
  • Virtual, Monday, June 26, 2023, 1:00 p.m.
  • Virtual, Wednesday, June 28, 2023, 5:00 p.m.

Virtual public hearings require registration; however, in-person meetings do not. During these hearings, the public can expect to hear about a final environmental impact statement (EIS) schedule, potential impacts from the proposed project, and proposals to reduce potential negative consequences. 

BOEM will publish an EIS informing BOEM’s decision on whether to approve, approve with modifications, or disapprove the construction and operations plan for the Atlantic Shores South Wind Project. However, nine Federal agencies and State governmental entities are cooperating agencies in the preparation of the DEIS, one being the DEP, who will review the DEIS before the EIS is created by July 3. 

“The DEP will thoroughly evaluate and provide comment to ensure all necessary steps are taken to avoid potential adverse impacts to New Jersey’s natural, historic and cultural resources,” said Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette. 

To learn more about how to make your comment anonymous, scroll to the “Information on Submitting Comments” paragraph on the BOEM notice of availability statement, which also contains specifics about where Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind Projects seeks to locate their wind turbine generators offshore substations, permanent meteorological tower, temporary meteorological and oceanographic buoys, inter-array and inter-link cables, onshore substations, facilities, transmissions cables, and more. 

Follow South Jersey provides local journalism which highlights our diverse communities; fosters transparency through robust, localized, and vital reporting that holds leaders and institutions accountable; addresses critical information needs; supports people in navigating civic life; and equips people with the information necessary to partake in effective community engagement. If there is a story or event you think we should cover, please send your tips to with “NEWS” in the subject line.