NJ Offshore Wind Suit Dismissed, RI Federal Case Moves Forward - The Fisherman

NJ Offshore Wind Suit Dismissed, RI Federal Case Moves Forward

A lawsuit filed against the Atlantic Shores offshore wind project by eight shore-side towns in New Jersey was dismissed in court in April due to a lack of standing for homeowners and municipalities, Brigantine Mayor Vince Sera said.

“Personally, I have a very hard time understanding how homeowners and municipalities have no standing in this case when these ocean wind projects will have major negative impacts to the ocean environment, our local economies, the value of people’s homes, and will dramatically increase the cost of electricity paid by everyone in New Jersey,” Sera said in a news release.

The lawsuit was filed by Barnegat Light, Beach Haven, Brigantine, Harvey Cedars, Long Beach Township, Ship Bottom, Surf City and Ventnor in December and called for an independent review the Atlantic Shores wind turbine cluster planned for development off the South Jersey Coast.

According to the Atlantic City Press, the project review was to determine whether the 200-plus wind turbines being built – standing almost as high as the Empire State Building at approximately 1,048 feet – violated the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) coastal regulations. “The DEP has a responsibility to adhere to their own Coastal Regulations, which prohibit development that threaten the scenic view and environment of the New Jersey Shore,” Sera said.

Another lawsuit in New England has been directed towards federal courts in a “Motion to Stay” all approvals and authorizations for the construction of the Revolution Wind offshore project.  Filed by Green Oceans, a multi-state, grassroots nonprofit organization, the motion is based on a recent disclosure that the Biological Opinion, a pivotal project requirement, was deemed inadequate by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Office of Protected Resources (OPR).

Both the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and NMFS have requested to reinitiate the Biological Opinion under the Endangered Species Act, citing insufficient protections for the endangered sei and fin whales and for two species of endangered turtles. The Biological Opinion, a required element for the approval and construction of any offshore wind project, is a comprehensive assessment of the anticipated impacts on marine animals during the life of the project, from construction to decommissioning.

“We respectfully ask the Court to ensure that the developers comply with the government’s request to halt construction and to cease irreparably altering Coxes Ledge until NOAA prepares a new and valid Opinion. The inadequacy of the first Biological Opinion highlights the failure of the government to obey environmental regulations in the rush to permit the Revolution Wind project,” said Dr. Lisa Quattrocki Knight, president and co-founder of Green Oceans.

Dr. Knight went on to say “the government dropped the ball and did not comply with the Endangered Species Act when it approved the project.”

Originally filed in January, Green Oceans’ federal lawsuit alleges that the U.S. Department of the Interior, BOEM, NMFS, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and their respective administrative leaders issued permits for Revolution Wind and South Fork Wind—two projects sited on the critical marine habitat of Coxes Ledge—despite the acknowledgment of serious ecological harm and without adequate consideration of the environmental impact.

For more information visit green-oceans.org.

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