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Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne has released the final programmatic environmental impact statement (FPEIS) for the outer continental shelf (OCS) alternative energy and alternate use program. He also announced an interim policy for authorization of the installation of offshore data collection and technology testing facilities in federal waters.

"This is an important step in fostering a new industry offshore that will diversify our nation's power supplies and open up new avenues to supply renewable energy to areas that may otherwise have limited options onshore," says Kempthorne.

The FPEIS examines the potential environmental effects of the program on the OCS over the next five to seven years and identifies policies and best management practices that may be adopted for the program. It assesses potential impacts from development, operation and decommissioning of alternative energy or alternate use facilities and identifies key issues and mitigation measures that should be considered by subsequent site-specific reviews.

The FPEIS is available at ocsenergy.anl.gov.

The Minerals Management Service (MMS) has announced the establishment of an interim policy on offshore alternative energy resource assessment and technology testing activities. MMS will be accepting public comments and project nominations through Jan. 7, 2008, related to the approval of meteorological or marine data collection facilities on the OCS that will be used to assess alternative energy resources (wind, wave and ocean current) or test alternative energy technology.

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