A group of Nantucket residents opposed to an offshore wind farm, proposed to the south of Martha’s Vineyard, filed a federal suit, according to the State House News Service. The suit was filed on Wednesday, and alleges that not enough was done to protect federal endangered species.
The suit alleges the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration did not comply with federal law when assessing, disclosing, and mitigating environmental effects of the Vineyard Wind 1 project.
The group that filed the suit, Nantucket Residents Against Turbines, says BOEM, NOAA, and National Marine Fisheries failed to ensure that Vineyard Wind would not jeopardize the survival of federally listed endangered species like the North Atlantic right whale. The suit also names Interior Secretary Debra Haaland and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.
“The North Atlantic right whale is on the verge of extinction. However, one of its longtime safe havens — where there is ample food and protective areas for birthing and rearing young — is the area immediately south-southwest of Nantucket Island,” the lawsuit reads. “Unfortunately, this is the exact place that BOEM has selected for purposes of constructing the largest offshore wind array ever assembled.”
“Vineyard Wind declines to comment on pending litigation,” Andrew Doba, a spokesman for the project, told The Times.
A spokesperson for Renew Northeast issued a statement on the suit: “Renew supports the benefits of bringing responsible offshore wind to the fore. However, the [ACK RATS] speaker’s comments about being OK with the wind turbines if they are moved further offshore demonstrates the group’s intent is aesthetics. The larger picture here is that offshore wind is a vital component of the clean energy transformation that is needed to protect whales and the ocean environment from the effects of climate change, while delivering clean electricity, jobs and other benefits to the residents of Massachusetts and the region.” Francis Pullaro, executive director, Renew Northeast, said.
American Clean Power (ACP) also issued a statement opposing the litigation. “Sustainability and environmental stewardship are primary focuses for the U.S. offshore wind industry. The Vineyard Wind project has undergone rigorous environmental reviews and permitting processes, in addition to a lengthy public comment period. While we are still reviewing the complaint, it appears this lawsuit is being brought by residents motivated by aesthetic concerns as much as anything alleged in their complaint,” Tom Vinson, ACP Vice President for Federal Regulatory Affairs, said in an emailed statement.