A new environmental document from the Interior Dept.'s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement could speed development of wind farms off the East Coast. BOEMRE's blanket draft environmental assessment, issued on July 11, covers areas off the coasts of Delaware, New Jersey and Virginia.

The assessment cuts by at least two years the application process for leasing offshore parcels for wind-farm development. After a comment period, BOEMRE expects to begin issuing leases as early as this year and continue through 2012.