PROVIDENCE – The head of a Narragansett-based political action committee that opposes Deepwater Wind’s proposed offshore wind farm near Block Island has filed a complaint in Superior Court that seeks to overturn the key state approval for the project.
Robert Shields, the chair of Deepwater Resistance, alleges in the complaint that a subcommittee of the state Coastal Resources Management Council showed bias toward Deepwater Wind during hearings in February on the company’s five-turbine wind farm that would be built about three miles southeast of Block Island and would connect to the regional power grid in Narragansett.
“Throughout the CRMC subcommittee hearings this past winter, CRMC showed its bias in favor of Deepwater Wind in its polite and deferential treatment of Deepwater Wind’s proponents and special interest allies,” reads a news release from Deepwater Resistance. “By contrast, opponents of the project were consistently interrupted and treated rudely by CRMC.”
During the hearings, several opponents to the project, including Shields, attempted to cite the above-market costs of the electricity that would be generated by the 30-megawatt wind farm in explaining their position.
But CRMC chair Anne Maxwell Livingston, who also heads the subcommittee that considered the project application, wouldn’t allow testimony on the wind farm’s economic impact, saying the issue was outside the council’s jurisdiction. A lawyer for the council agreed.
In his complaint, Shields asks the court to require CRMC staff to draft a new report on the project that takes into account economic and other issues. He also requests additional public hearings.
The CRMC would not comment on the complaint, but a spokeswoman for the agency said that staff members are reviewing it.
Jeffrey Grybowski, CEO of Providence-based Deepwater, called the appeal “baseless” and said it would not affect the company’s plans to build what could be the first offshore wind farm in the United States.
“Our legal team is now preparing a full response to the appeal and we are very confident that the court will reject this baseless complaint,” he said in a statement.
Briefs in the case are due in August.
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