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Deepwater Resistance has its day in court

Deepwater Resistance isn’t giving up the fight.

Despite the fact that the Block Island Wind Farm has received all state and federal approvals, Narragansett resident Bob Shields, founder of Deepwater Resistance, had his day in court on Wednesday, Sept. 17. Shields, the Plaintiff in the case, and his attorney, Terence J. Tierney, faced off against Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) attorney Brian Goldberg and Deepwater Wind’s team of three lawyers from the firm Hinckley-Allen, led by attorney Gerald Petros.

The proceedings lasted approximately two hours, with each attorney presenting their case for 45 minutes before Judge Michael A. Silverstein in the Superior Courthouse on Benefit Street in Providence.

Shield’s amended complaint, filed on Aug. 27, 2014, seeks declaratory and injunctive relief regarding the violation of his statutory and constitutional rights. Shields felt his “constitutional rights to due process and equal protection under the law in connection with a final administrative agency decision rendered in a contested case in which the Coastal Resources Management Council refused to consider issues within its jurisdiction…”

On Sept. 4, Deepwater Wind’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the case. In response, Shields and his attorney filed a response to that motion which led to their 2 p.m., Sept. 17, appearance in court.

“We think it went very well,” said Shields during a phone interview. “We’re very pleased with the outcome.”

“The good news is that Deepwater’s attorneys tried for an hour to dismiss the complaint, but came up short,” said Rosemarie Ives, a Deepwater opponent. “The judge did not dismiss the complaint. From our perspective we think it’s significant that the judge did not dismiss the complaint.”

Shields said that the judge ordered both sides to submit a further motion, or memorandum of law, limited to 10 pages, of what the core of the complaints and issues are. The judge is requiring a submission in writing by Tuesday, Sept. 23, and neither side is required to appear in court.

“I think the judge is playing this case very impartially,” said Shields. “I hope he’s impartial, which is what anybody would hope for.”

“The judge seemed kind of uncertain as to how to rule on the complaint,” said Shields. “He is going to read the memorandum next Tuesday and decide when to continue the case. But we feel very good, positive that there will be more decisions down the road.”

“We want to tell people (the public) that the project is not totally approved yet,” Ives said. “Bob should absolutely be affirmed that his complaint has merit.”