Breaking: CRMC issues Deepwater staff report

‘No objection’ to Deepwater
Wed, 01/29/2014 - 8:00pm

In a 53-page report, four staff members of the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) have stated their position regarding the Deepwater Wind Block Island Wind Farm.

According to the CRMC Staff Report, dated Jan. 24, 2014, the CRMC staff has “no objection” to Deepwater’s proposal to construct a five-turbine offshore wind farm off the coast of Block Island. The report also evaluates the wind farm’s potential impacts on the environment, and lists a series of stipulations Deepwater Wind should follow in order to mitigate these potential impacts.

This report will act as an advisory opinion to a subcommittee of the CRMC, the Ocean Special Area Management Plan (OSAMP) subcommittee. The OSAMP subcommittee will hold two public hearings regarding Deepwater, scheduled for Feb. 4 and Feb. 24. Following the hearings, the subcommittee will issue a recommendation to the CRMC, which is responsible for issuing permits to Deepwater Wind that would allow the company to construct the wind farm.

The report states, “CRMC Staff have reviewed the applicable standards and have evaluated the applicant’s consistency with those standards. Based on this review, CRMC Staff has no objection to the project provided the Council adopts the recommended stipulations, but we defer to the Council for consideration of the staff report and the substantive testimony during the public hearing process.”

Four staff members contributed to the report: Grover Fugate, CRMC executive director; David Beutel, CRMC aquaculture coordinator; Danni Goulet, marine infrastructure coordinator; and David Reis, CRMC environmental scientist.

"They [the CRMC] are not bound by the staff report, but in most cases they usually accept the report," said Fugate. "They will accept input through public comment [at their hearings], but their obligation is to evaluate the project based on the coastal plan."

For more on this story, read Friday's edition of The Block Island Times.