Foes of Cape Wind Associates LLC’s proposed $2.6 billion wind farm off the Massachusetts coast lost most of the legal disputes involving the project in four lawsuits against the federal government.
Cape Wind, based in Boston, has spent more than a decade pursuing the Nantucket Sound project, which may become the first U.S. offshore wind farm. It has fought opposition from some environmental groups, local fishermen and members of the Kennedy family.
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton in Washington today threw out claims that government agencies violated historic-preservation and environmental- and wildlife-protection laws in permitting the project. He also rejected a request by opponents to seek further documents connected to the dispute.
The judge did hand the project’s opponents two victories, ordering the National Marine Fisheries Service to further study the wind farm’s impact on right whales and telling the Fish and Wildlife Service to make an independent determination about whether seasonal adjustments in the position and movement of wind turbine rotors to avoid bird strikes are “reasonable and prudent.”
Audra Parker, president and chief executive officer of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, said the fisheries and wildlife services “violated the Endangered Species Act and have to go back to the drawing board.”
“They need to get an independent review of how much harm the project could cause the right whale,” she said in an interview.
The case is Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility v. Beaudreu, 10-cv-1067, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).
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