Advertisement

Lawsuits aim to protect right whales living near Nantucket wind farm

Advertisement

Advocates question review effort that finalized federal approval, saying untold damage would be done to endangered species

Content of the article

The construction of dozens of wind turbines off the coast of Massachusetts has been the subject of two lawsuits alleging it threatens critical habitat for right whale populations, which number less than 400 worldwide.

Advertising

Content of the article

The latest opposition to the 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind offshore project comes from the Austin-based Texas Public Policy Foundation, which filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington DC on behalf of several commercial fishing groups, reports Real Clear Energy .

The construction and operation of the wind farm do not take into account studies describing “the short-term damage to the marine habitat of endangered species”, alleges the lawsuit.

Vineyard Wind is believed to have a significant impact on habitat changes for the population, leading to the risk of ship strikes due to higher levels of large vessel traffic and noise disturbance that could alter migratory movements “throughout the region from the mid-Atlantic, ”he says.

The bill, which received federal approval in May, violates a number of U.S. laws, the lawsuit said, including the Outer Continental Shelf Land Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Water Act. the Law on the Protection of Marine Mammals and the National Law on Environmental Policy.

Advertising

Content of the article

A study published four months ago has observed a North Atlantic right whale in the region almost every month since 2017 and a total of 327 from 2011 to 2019.

According to to the Canadian Wildlife Federation, the North Atlantic right whale, which spends its summers in Atlantic Canada, is one of the rarest whales in the world.

A few months ago, ACK Residents Against Turbines also filed a federal complaint stating that the waters of southern Massachusetts, which serve as critical habitat for the species’ feeding and nursing, would be compromised for the environment. by the offshore wind farm.

Advertising

Content of the article

β€œWe all want renewable energy,” Nantucket resident Mary Chalke told AP after the group filed a lawsuit in federal court in Massachusetts. β€œIt represents the transformation and industrialization of a pristine natural environment. “

Wind turbines in an offshore wind farm near Block Island, RI, May 13, 2017.
Wind turbines in an offshore wind farm near Block Island, RI, May 13, 2017. Photo by CHANG W. LEE /NOW

However, the $ 3 billion proposal, a joint venture between a Danish company and Iberdrola, a US subsidiary of a large Spanish energy multinational, would be located 22 km from the island and completely reshape the region. Nearly 60 imposing turbines, which could reach 260 meters high and equipped with blades extending tens of meters long, would also affect the seabird population and the many fishing boats that ply the waters.

Bob Vanasse, head of the fishing advocacy group Saving Seafood, told AP that Vineyard Wind and similar projects proposed in the region would harm a wide range of fisheries, including squid, clams and scallops.

Advertising

Content of the article

“There are a number of groups in various fisheries who have expressed concerns about insufficient planning and review effort,” he said in August. “This group is far from the only one in this case.”

Francis Pullaro, executive director of RENEW Northeast, an environmental group in the region, defended the federal review process in a statement, calling it “thorough.”

U.S. Home Secretary Deb Haaland speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony as energy from the Vineyard Wind commercial offshore wind farm lands in Centerville, Massachusetts, the United States on November 18.
U.S. Home Secretary Deb Haaland speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony as energy from the Vineyard Wind commercial offshore wind farm lands in Centerville, Massachusetts, the United States on November 18. Photo by BRIAN SNYDER /Reuters

“The rigorous environmental review and licensing process fully addressed the issues raised and the only effect of this frivolous lawsuit may be to delay the delivery of clean energy that benefits the ocean environment and the people of Massachusetts,” he wrote, referring to the August trial. .

In March, the Biden administration announced it would “catalyze” the installation of 30,000 megawatts of new offshore wind turbines off the coast of the United States by 2030, a move that would change the face of the East Coast. A 200-wegawatt wind farm could require around 36 square kilometers of space, according to Bloomberg.

A nuclear facility generating 1,000 megawatts, on the other hand, would only need a square mile of space, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute in 2015.

Advertising

comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a vibrant but civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour of moderation before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications. You will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, if there is an update to a comment thread that you follow, or if a user that you follow comments. Check out our community guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Advertisement

Leave a Comment