Federal energy officials are opening an environmental impact study for what could be the first offshore wind power project in East Coast federal waters, with public sessions next week on the South Fork Wind Farm proposal east of Montauk, N.Y.

The 15-turbine array is proposed by Deepwater Wind, the company that pioneered the first U.S. commercial offshore wind project at Block Island, R.I. Now in the process of being acquired by Denmark-based energy company Ørsted for $510 million, Deepwater Wind would build the South Fork array about 19 miles southeast of Block Island and 35 miles east of Montauk.

The Bureau of Offshore Energy Management is holding public scoping meetings Nov. 5 to Nov. 8 at Amagansett,  N.Y.;  New Bedford, Mass.; and Narragansett, R.I. Agency officials say they provide “multiple opportunities to help BOEM determine significant resources (e.g. avian, marine mammals) and issues, impact-producing factors, reasonable alternatives, and potential mitigating measures to be analyzed in the EIS.”

The South Fork project enjoys considerable support from New York State government, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo has made offshore wind development a key part of the state’s energy strategy.

But it faces serious opposition from the Long Island and southern New England fishing industry, who say the project will disrupt their fishing grounds.

Contributing Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been an editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for over 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.