Although the settlement agreement with the Fishermen's Association was not officially disclosed, the Fishermen's Association now expresses unilateral support for the 120-turbine 468-megawatt wind farm:
“Instead of being on different ends of the fence, we’re going to work together to determine which areas are open to fishing, what areas will be successful for different kinds of fishing and how to make that fishing safe and available to all fishermen,” said Warren Doty, president of the Fishermen's Association.Mr. Doty further noted that in exchange for the Association's support, Cape Wind has agreed to support access and a new permit program for fishermen who make a living in the waters around Horseshoe Shoal: the newly-formed Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust. The Trust will buy fishing permits and lease them at affordable rates to Island fishermen and will be operated through the Permanent Endowment for Martha’s Vineyard. The amount of any monetary contributions from Cape Wind toward the permit bank was not disclosed pursuant to a confidentiality agreement.
In early July, Cape Wind announced that it has initiated the next stages of geophysical and construction surveys that must be performed in advance of construction. Cape Wind spokesman Mark Rogers reported that the survey would be a four-stage process building on work performed in previous years.
The geotechnical survey work is being performed by the Dutch marine surveying company, Fugro. Fugro has conducted numerous marine based geotechnical surveys for oil and gas companies, mining operations, construction projects and many of the off-shore wind projects recently built in Europe. The company's U/S. headquarters is located in Norfolk, Virginia.
"This final permit from the US Army Corp of Engineers brings Fishermen’s Energy demonstration project off Atlantic City one step closer to fruition. This project is the catalyst needed to jumpstart the offshore wind industry in New Jersey and it sends the right signals to manufacturers that New Jersey is open for business," said Rhonda Jackson, Communications Director of Fishermen’s Energy.
"The Fishermen's Atlantic City Windfarm fully demonstrates how renewable energy projects can be developed in an environmentally responsible manner. Fishermen's Energy has worked diligently to ensure that all regulatory and environmental concerns raised by State and Federal agencies are completely addressed. This project will serve as an example of how offshore wind projects should be pursued" said Chuck Harman, Principal Ecologist and Project Manager for AMEC Earth & Environmental (“AMEC”).Before Fishermen’s Energy can begin construction, the company must finalize its status under the New Jersey OREC program as well as select its construction contractors. Fishermen's has indicated that it hopes to select New Jersey vendors whenever practical and plans to commence onshore port and facilities construction in Atlantic City in 2013 with offshore construction and commissioning in 2014.
- Lease issuances in all areas of the designated AMI Wind Energy Area (WEA)-- This is the proposed action and preferred alternative.
- Lease issuances in all areas of the designated AMI WEAs, with certain areas designated as important to North Atlantic Right Whales excluded.
- Exclusion of all areas within the AMI WEA that are located within 15 nautical miles of inhabited Massachusetts coastal areas.
- Exclusion of all areas within the AMI WEA that are located within 21 miles of inhabited Massachusetts coastal areas.
- Exclusion of any areas within the AMI WEA that are host to submerged telecommunications cables.
- No action alternative.
Like the 2009 guidelines, the revised guidelines include an explanation regarding the respective responsibilities of each agency and instructions on how best to navigate the process of obtaining a marine hydrokinetic lease and license on the OCS. Topics include, among others: provisions for obtaining leases and licenses, fee structures, and hybrid (e.g., wind and marine hydrokinetic) project considerations. The revised guidelines were issued to "promote further clarity for the regulatory process and facilitate a more efficient process in authorizing marine hydrokinetic (e.g., energy developed from waves and ocean currents) research and testing activities."