Help Ensure Offshore Wind Limits Harm to Marine Life  

We need your help to ensure offshore wind development is sited responsibly to reduce harm to marine wildlife and minimize impacts to local communities. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has recently proposed two draft Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) off Oregon’s coast for offshore wind turbines. Thanks to your previous comments we helped whittle down areas considered for wind development from a huge 1,800 to a more modest 343 square miles. However, we remain concerned about the overall process and there are places in the draft WEAs that still jeopardize marine wildlife and fish. We need your help again!

The technology for floating offshore wind is brand new and hasn’t been used in North America yet. The West Coast’s renowned California Current marine ecosystem, with its rich upwelling waters, is a crucially important natural resource with significant cultural, ecological, and economic values that must be carefully considered through all phases of industrial energy development.

Take Action

Comments to BOEM are due by 11:59 p.m. on October 31. Follow these instructions to submit your comment (talking points below):

Please click on “comment” type in your comment or attach a file and hit “submit comment.” 

Submit Comments

Key Talking Points

Please urge BOEM to minimize impacts to ocean and coastal wildlife and habitats and to responsibly site offshore wind development by doing the following:

    • BOEM must conduct a West Coast-wide Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) or an analogous robust cumulative impacts before the siting process is finalized. Seabirds, whales and fish range widely across multiple areas now under consideration for wind development. A PEIS or cumulative impacts analysis will provide a transparent consideration of larger, ecosystem wide issues and it can be done in a way that does not delay the process and could lead to better outcomes.
    • For the Draft Coos WEA: Remove the northwestern portion that overlaps the NMFS-recommended protected species leatherback turtle exclusion area. This corresponds with the NMFS’ recommended exclusion areas for habitats and NMFS’s recommended scenario.
    • For the Brookings WEA: Remove NMFS-recommended protected species Blue/Humpback foraging exclusion area, which will also reduce incursions into high value coral habitats and minimize potential Short-tailed Albatross conflicts. This corresponds with the NMFS-recommended scenario.
    • BOEM has not provided sufficient analysis of how wind energy arrays in the proposed WEAs could impact upwelling that is the very basis for the productivity of our region’s highly productive marine ecosystems. Previous research has indicated upwelling could be disrupted by wind turbine arrays and thus potentially have ecosystem-wide impacts.  BOEM needs to include an upwelling analysis in their modeling efforts to inform siting recommendations.
    • BOEM has not sufficiently considered impacts to Leach’s Storm Petrels, an Oregon Conservation Strategy Species of Concern. The proposed Brookings WEA is located right between where the West Coast’s largest population of Leach’s Storm Petrel (an estimated 480,000 birds) nests and where they feed.
    • BOEM needs to provide a sufficient analysis of how electromagnetic fields (EMF) created by transmission cables may impact invertebrates and fish, especially the small forage fish that birds and wildlife depend upon.
    • I am concerned that BOEM has given insufficient consideration to how and where wind energy installations will come ashore and then connect with major transmission lines that have a high risk for wildfires and high values for tourism, especially the Samuel Boardman Corridor and Cape Sebastian State Park that run parallel to the Brookings WEA. I urge BOEM to consider realistic onshoring scenarios in the NCCOS spatial analysis so that the public can know what is likely to actually be proposed.

For further background information:

  1. Click here for a link to BOEM’s official notice.
  2. Click here for the joint BOEM-NCCOS analysis that was used to inform how WEAs were selected.
  3. Presentation hosted by Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition in March 2022 with panel presentations (including Joe Liebezeit) and discussion on the issue.

You can also thank BOEM for excluding some areas of high ecological value in a previous decision.

Thank you for taking action to protect our ocean habitats and limit harm to marine wildlife.