A United States District Court Judge has allowed Cape Wind to keep its federal offshore wind lease in his ruling on a lawsuit filed by the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound.
Judge Reggie B. Walton upheld the 10-year long permitting process, rejecting the Alliance’s request to vacate the lease granted by the Department of the Interior.
In a lawsuit with numerous claims, Walton did rule in favor of the Alliance on a few counts, ordering the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service to revisit the impacts Cape Wind’s 130 offshore turbines would have on migrating birds and right whales.
He ordered the Marine Fisheries Service to provide the court with an estimate of potential whale incidents and asked the Fish and Wildlife Service to confirm that its decisions were made independently of other influences.
Both Cape Wind and the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, which filed the lawsuits, are calling the judgement a victory.
In a statement, Cape Wind President Jim Gordon called the rulings “incredibly important legal victories for Cape Wind.”
“It clears the way for completing the financing of a project that will diversify New England’s electricity portfolio by harnessing our abundant and inexhaustible offshore wind,” he said.
Meanwhile, Alliance President and CEO Audra Parker called the ruling “good news for environmentalists and all of us who want to see the fragile and unique environment of Cape Cod protected.”
“The court has validated that federal agencies have taken unacceptable shortcuts in their review of Cape Wind,” she said in a statement.
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