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The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced three final Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) off the Central Atlantic coast.

The three WEAs, which are off the coasts of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, total approximately 356,550 acres. The first, A-2, is 101,767 acres and is located 26 nautical miles (nm) from Delaware Bay; the second, B-1, is 78,285 acres about 23.5 nm off Ocean City, Maryland; and the third, C-1, is 176,506 acres located about 35 nm from the mouth of Chesapeake Bay.

A Notice of Intent to prepare an environmental assessment of potential impacts from offshore wind leasing in the WEAs will be published in the Federal Register on 1 August. This will be followed by a 30-day public comment period. If the BOEM decides to move forward with a lease sale in any of the WEAs, another public comment period will be held.

Meanwhile, an in-depth review of WEA B-1 will continue in coordination with the Department of Defense and NASA in order to determine if their activities could co-exist with wind energy development. Results of the assessment will be used to inform whether B-1 should be included in a possible lease sale, which would be the next step in the wind energy process.

The BOEM notes these three WEAs are in comparatively shallow water and that once further studies have been conducted in deepwater areas off the Central Atlantic coast, additional WEAs may be identified for future leasing.

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