On October 3, 2018, Icebreaker Wind1 announced that, in “the most significant single approval Icebreaker Wind has received to date,” the US Department of Energy (DOE), in cooperation with the US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Coast Guard, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal agencies, had issued its final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) on October 2, 2018, following over two years’ and an “exhaustive and thorough” review and investigation.

The related press release includes the following notable findings from the DOE report:

  • “The proposed wind turbine generators and the proposed substation would be visible from the shoreline. However, due to the distance that the wind turbine generators would be constructed from shore and the existing industrial uses of the proposed onshore project sites, adverse visual impacts associated with the proposed project would be minor.”
  • “The proposed project would not cause any significant adverse effects nationally, within the Great Lakes region or the onshore or offshore area within or near the proposed project area.”
  • “While this would be the first offshore wind project in the Great Lakes, potential impacts associated with construction and operation of the project are understood and are largely similar to land-based projects in the Great Lakes region, the existing offshore wind project off the coast of Rhode Island and offshore wind projects that have been deployed in Europe. Impacts associated with the proposed turbine foundations are expected to be similar to, but overall less than, those observed for offshore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore wind facilities in Europe.”

1 For a description of Icebreaker Wind and its Lake Erie offshore wind project, see our July 6, 2018 Legal Update.

For more information about the topics raised in this Legal Update, please contact J. Paul Forrester

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