Keep an eye on legal challenges


To the Editor: 

Those who take an interest in the development of offshore wind farms, in particular Vineyard Wind, may wish to read two recent legal documents that charge negligence is assessing potential harm to the marine environment resulting from surveying work, construction, and operation and maintenance of the wind towers and their turbines.

1. On Nov. 26, 2021, David P. Hubbard of Gatzke Dillon & Ballance, LLP, representing Nantucket Residents Against Turbines (, sent a 60-Day Notice of Intent to Sue (NOI) to administrators and staff at the U.S. Department of Commerce, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Department of the Interior. 

2. The NOI states as its subject: “Violations of Endangered Species Act Section 7 — Legally Deficient Biological Opinion for Vineyard Wind Offshore Energy Project and Related Incidental Take Authorization and Incidental Harassment Authorization.” The take and harassment authorizations refer to killing and harassing of the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale.

3. On Dec. 15, 2021, lawyers representing the Texas Public Policy Foundation filed a Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. Paragraph 1 states, “This is an action for declaratory and injunctive relief against the United States Departments of the Interior, Commerce, and Defense, their subagencies, and their officers acting in their official capacities (collectively, the ‘Federal Defendants’) for violations of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and their respective rules and regulations (collectively, the “Federal Laws”).

Robert Bryce, the author of numerous books on energy-related issues, writes, “The new suit, like the one filed by the Nantucket residents … contends [that] federal authorities did not properly consider how the wind project will harm the whales … Vineyard Wind is owned by Avangrid Renewables (a subsidiary of Spanish utility Iberdrola) and the Danish firm Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.”

Katherine Scott