[CT Birds] Coastal Oil and Gas Leasing Comment Period Closes March 9

Stuart Winquist stuartwinquist at sbcglobal.net
Wed Mar 7 01:09:59 EST 2018

Fellow CT Birders,
This is just a friendly reminder that the comment period for the Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management,  National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing process closes at 11:59 pm, March 9.  You can submit comments via the following link.
https://www.boem.gov/National-Program-Comment/ <https://www.boem.gov/National-Program-Comment/>

I attended the public information session in Hartford a few weeks back.  They stressed the importance of comments that were specific with respect to recreational, or commercial resource use, or biological resource impact.  References to data sets or published scientific papers were strongly encouraged.  My understanding is that they will pursue this information when preparing the environmental impact study. I would strongly encourage anyone who is a sea-watch birder to weigh in to help identify specifics of what they know about potential impact to sea & coastal bird migration.  I would especially encourage any of you who are pelagic enthusiasts to identify any data sets or papers you know of for offshore observations.  For instance, I was talking to a biologist at the open house that didn’t realize that eBird has offshore sighting data so I am including that in my comments.   I am concerned that there is a contingent that hopes if they put these leases off shore far enough and out of view, they think they can avoid public backlash and there is less data to push back with once they are in the deep offshore areas.  I am also emphasizing the mobile nature of fish, mammals and avian species so that impacts of a lease area off of NC will impact CT.  The process is dividing up the coast into blocks, so at some point in the process there is another chance for states to comment again, but only in their block.  I also think it is important to emphasize that the science isn’t mature enough to understand when and where offshore industrial facilities would have a small, large or disasterous impact.

There are other organizations such as the NRDF that will take this battle to the courts, but in the meantime, we need to put as much leverage in the hands of the people in the process who will try to do the right thing.  

Stuart Winquist, East Hampton

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