A 2d lawsuit in works against Vineyard Wind

Fishing alliance criticizes lack of mitigation measures

A GROUP REPRESENTING  US fishing interests  is suing to block the federal government’s approval of Vineyard Wind, becoming the second organization to file a legal challenge to the nation’s first commercial offshore wind project.

The Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, a coalition of fishing industry associations and companies, signaled on Monday its intent to sue the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management by filing a petition with the First Circuit US Court of Appeals seeking clarification on which court is the most appropriate to hear the challenge.

In a press release, the alliance criticized the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for its hasty approval of Vineyard Wind and the agency’s failure to take into account the concerns of the fishing industry. The alliance said the design of Vineyard Wind bunches the turbines too close together and fails to take into account the cumulative environmental impact of building dozens of wind farms along the East Coast.

“BOEM has failed to sincerely consider any mitigation measures beyond those voluntarily suggested by the investment banks and multinational energy giants to which it is leasing federal lands and waters. Climate change must be addressed, but in a way that deliberatively minimizes these emerging technologies’ direct impacts to marine ecosystems, biodiversity, and food security,” the alliance said in a press release.

The alliance’s concerns are not new. Just as wind energy proponents criticized the Trump administration for delaying action on Vineyard Wind for several years, the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance criticized the Biden administration for quickly reversing course after the election and giving the wind farm a quick approval.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

The Responsible Offshore Development Alliance is the second group to challenge Vineyard Wind in court. Late last month, two Nantucket residents backed by a group of think tanks and beachfront property owners filed suit seeking to block Vineyard Wind until regulators can assure the safety of the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale.

The lawsuits raise the possibility that litigation might be a way to slow and possibly kill wind farms that state and federal officials are counting on to decarbonize the economy. Cape Wind, which sought to become the nation’s first wind farm, was stalled and eventually killed when lawsuits made it impossible to retain investors and begin energy production on time.