ProJo.com: After two years of work costing more than $8 million, Rhode Island is a critical step closer to protecting its ocean waters with eco-friendly standards and regulations for offshore wind-turbine developers.
The state Coastal Resources Management Council unanimously approved the Ocean Special Area Management Plan (Ocean SAMP) Tuesday night. The hefty document needs final approval from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The ocean mapping not only identifies the best locations for wind turbines in state waters, but also suggests a suitable site in nearby waters under federal jurisdiction. State officials ultimately want the SAMP to govern that area — federal waters generally begin 3 miles offshore — which could be the location for a large turbine project proposed by Deepwater Wind.
State and federal officials also think the Rhode Island plan can be a model for other coastal states.
Governor Carcieri has championed the plan because it should expedite the permitting process for the Deepwater project, which would be the first offshore wind farm in the country. The governor will have a news conference to celebrate the SAMP’s completion Thursday at 3 p.m. at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography.
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Providence Journal: ProJo.com