Two months after Cape Wind Associates announced plans to buy a Falmouth marina to serve as the operations headquarters for the extensive offshore wind turbine project it intends to build on Nantucket Sound, environmentalists are firing the latest salvo against a development a decade in the making.
The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and a handful of other groups yesterday filed a motion for summary judgment in one of five pending lawsuits aimed at preventing the construction of 130 wind turbines on roughly 25 miles of the sound.
The brief filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia alleges the Cape Wind project would violate federal protections for threatened and endangered species, including the North Atlantic right whale, four species of federally protected sea turtles and several species of migratory birds.
“Cape Wind would be disastrous to Nantucket Sound, resulting in serious threats to the marine mammals and birds that rely on this vital habitat,” said Alliance President Audra Parker.
Mark Rodgers, a spokesman for Cape Wind, called the brief filed yesterday “old news” and its allegations baseless. A 10-year review by federal and state permitting agencies found that Cape Wind would safely coexist with and reduce the pollution that harms wildlife, he said.
Rodgers said the Alliance is funded by coal and oil billionaire Bill Koch and has called for moving Cape Wind out of the view of its members, south of Nantucket, “which ironically is closer to known right whale migration routes.”
When asked how much Koch had donated to the Alliance, Patty Dineen, a spokeswoman for the group, said: “While it’s a well-known fact that Bill Koch is a generous donor, we respect the privacy of all our donors and do not routinely release information without the specific donor’s permission.”
Cape Wind has said construction on the $2.5 billion project will begin in 2014.
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