According to The Wall Street Journal
The U.S. Interior Department expects little environmental impact from testing the feasibility of wind farms off the coast of four Atlantic coast states, according to a draft document released Monday.
The findings, which could be changed after the department reviews public comments, are an indication that the agency may be prepared to lease the areas for wind development without a more lengthy environmental review.
The document released Monday is a preliminary assessment of a proposal to lease areas off the coasts of New Jersey, Virginia, Delaware and Maryland and to allow companies to test whether the areas are viable for generating wind power. It is part of a wider push by the Obama administration to speed up the permitting process for what are known as wind farms.
In a news release asking for public comment on the document, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said that, "with today's announcement, we are taking another step toward ensuring that renewable [energy] development along the Atlantic outer continental shelf becomes a reality."
The areas under consideration for lease include about 354,000 acres off southern New Jersey, 139,000 acres off the Virginia coast, 103,000 acres off Delaware's shores and 80,000 acres off the coast of Maryland. Leasing the areas and allowing testing there would have a relatively small effect on wildlife, commercial fishing, water quality and other concerns, the draft environmental review found.