Lewes – A Lewes resident is seeking to halt the wind turbine near the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean and Environment campus in Lewes.
In a federal lawsuit filed Jan. 9 Jerry Lechliter alleges the wind turbine was built on open space lands in violation of law. The action states defendants obtained permits for the wind turbine based on misrepresentations and seeks injunctive relief and damages.
Lechliter filed the suit against the University of Delaware, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, City of Lewes, U.S. Department of Energy, Gamesa Technology Corp., Blue Hen Wind Inc. and individuals associated with those agencies.
Lewes Mayor Jim Ford, on Jan. 30, said he’s aware of the lawsuit, but the city has not received court documents. Ford said he could not comment further.
Neither Lechliter nor UD or DNREC officials were available to comment on the suit at press time.
Lechliter alleges the university obtained permits for the turbine based on backroom negotiations with DNREC and Lewes officials and “its public misrepresentations that the wind turbine would cause no intrusive noise and not result in diminution of property values.”
Lechliter alleges Nancy Targett, dean of the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment, sent an Feb. 16, 2010 email to DNREC Deputy Secretary David Small, requesting the agency “intervene to speed up approvals of the permitting process for construction of the wind turbine because defendant University had a narrow window in 2010 for purchasing the wind turbine and having a specialty crane available to mount it on its tower.”
Lechliter alleges Target wrote in the email to Small: “Dave, I need your help in moving our stormwater permit request to the top of the pile at DNREC … SED phoned DNREC (and) told it was in the pile and that it would be acted on within the standard 30 days … Dave, we do not have 30 days. If we don’t get construction underway soon … and I mean really soon … we lose the window and have to wait a year. That would not be good for any of us … Jack (presumably the governor) always said DE is flexible. Well, we need that now. I don’t want to bend the rules, (sic) I just need to speed up the process.”
The action seeks damages in excess of $250,000 together with costs and further relief as the court deems just.
Lechliter, representing himself in the action, filed the 40-page lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington.
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