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NY releases study on coastal waters

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- A study of New York's coastal waters, released Wednesday by the Department of State, is intended to help guide the eventual placement of offshore wind turbines.

The study draws from four reports conducted for the department, and identifies areas significant to commercial fishing and recreation, identifies endangered species like right whales, sea turtles and Atlantic sturgeon, and includes data meant to predict where seabirds and other species might be harmed by wind power generators.

Secretary of State Cesar Perales called the study a "critical first step" in planning new offshore economic development such as wind farms. The study includes research needed to advance Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to increase the state's use of renewable energy.

Ocean waters beyond the state territorial boundary of three miles are regulated by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The lease application for a wind project 13 miles off Rockaway Peninsula is under review.

The Department of State plans to make the geographic data from the reports available online to the public within months.

Environmental groups released a statement praising the study.

"The mapping of offshore resources and ocean uses helps ensure that the siting of offshore wind projects is done smart from the start and could speed up state and federal approval of much-needed sustainable offshore wind power in the region," the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and other groups said in the statement.