First U.S. offshore wind energy project faces lawsuit

Environmental groups plan to file suit in federal district court Friday arguing that the nation's first offshore wind energy project, approved recently by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, violates the Endangered Species Act.

The suit accuses the Obama administration of failing to protect and whales in approving the Cape Wind project, a set of 130 wind turbine generators to be installed on Nantucket Sound. The suit would mark the first legal challenge to the project since it was approved April 28 by Obama administration officials, who lauded it as a model of renewable energy production.

The plaintiffs, including Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, Californians for Renewable Energy Inc. and the Texas group Lower Laguna Madre Foundation, argue that the Interior Department failed to adequately assess the wind turbine project for its potential harm to birds and whales migrating off the Massachusetts coast.

Jessica Almy, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said that the Interior Department ignored recommendations from experts to require that shut down during the heaviest periods of .

She alleged the Fish and Wildlife Service recommendation was removed from the proposal after the Interior Department received an objection from the project applicant, Cape Wind Associates.

Cape Wind Associates, owned by a private Boston-based energy company, wrote Interior in 2008 that the shutdown requirement was "not reasonable." The letter was sent to Interior's Minerals Management Service, currently under criticism for allegedly mishandling its oversight of offshore oil and gas drilling.

The shutdown requirement would have included hours when power generated from the project was most important and would harm the project's financial viability, the company wrote.

Mark Rodgers, communications director for Cape Wind, said, "The impact on birds will be minor and ... the threats we're imposing on from burning fossil fuels and from climate change are far more severe and need to be mitigated."

The plaintiffs also argue that the project could harm right whales, citing reports that nearly 100 were recently observed feeding near the proposed project site.

Rodgers said that of all the water bodies around Cape Cod, "the one with the least amount of whale traffic is Nantucket Sound."

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Jun 26, 2010
How interesting that there are so many special interest groups out there ready to sue that any progress on any project, green or not, is impossible. With CW, first it was the Kennedy - Cronkite et al NIMBY group and now the Californians for Renewable Energy Inc. and the Lower Laguna Madre Foundation. ???? HUH!

Cape wind may be a poor project both financially and environmentally, only time will tell, but it is obvious that the stupid keep on doing stupid things and the lawyers keep getting richer at everyone's expense.

Jun 26, 2010
Environmental groups are against Coal power. Ok. I can buy that.
They're against Oil power. Ok.
They're against Natural Gas. Sure. why not.
They're against Fission. I start to get iffy here.
They're against Fusion. They completely lose me here.
They're against Hydro-electric, despite it meeting every guideline that they themselves set for the "perfect" powersource.
They're against Geothermal... uh?
They're against Wind... wait... what? *Why*? What *possible* reason could they have to be against wind?

What are they rooting for? PV-solar. Yes, you heard correctly, PV-solar. Expensive PV-solar. Inefficient PV-solar. Dirty PV-solar. Those PV panels create truly unbelievable amounts of toxic waste during their manufacturing process. But they want us to use PV nonetheless. Why not wind? Cheap, efficient, clean. Better.

Why PV? Personally I'm thinking that a lot of environmentalists probably have shares in PV-solar companies. They're no better than the coal companies they claim to hate.

Jun 30, 2010
Massive Offshore Wind Turbines Safe for Birds: Infrared monitoring shows that savvy seabirds steer clear of wind turbines:

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