Articles filed under Legal
A U.S. fishing group on Monday sued the Biden administration over its approval of the huge Vineyard Wind offshore wind project off the East Coast, saying the government had failed to address industry concerns about its potential safety and environmental impacts.
A US judge has issued a preliminary ruling finding that Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) infringed a General Electric (GE) patent for low-voltage ride-through technology (LVRT) that keeps wind turbines connected to the grid. However, the judge rejected a similar intellectual property (IP) claim concerning GE’s zero-voltage ride-through (ZVRT) technology.
Concerns about the fate of the right whale, whose population is dwindling, are not new. The downturn in the whale population is already happening without any wind farms being built, primarily because the whales are being hit by boats or becoming ensnared in fishing nets. Still, officials from 17 prominent environmental groups wrote a letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service in September 2020 raising concerns that regulators were failing to protect environmentally endangered mammals, including right whales, in their review of offshore wind projects. It’s unclear whether any changes were made in response to the letter; efforts to reach two of the signers were unsuccessful. Erica Fuller of the Conservation Law Foundation in Boston did not return calls over a two-day period.
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a federal judge's order blocking Nebraska Public Power District from canceling power purchase agreements with four wind farms in the state. The publicly owned utility had argued that Elkhorn Ridge Wind LLC, Laredo Ridge Wind LLC, Broken Bow Wind LLC and Crofton Bluffs Wind LLC had violated the agreements by transferring control of their parent company's ownership interests without their consent.
The group, Nantucket Residents Against Turbines, says the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Marine Fisheries failed to ensure that Vineyard Wind would not jeopardize the survival of federally listed critically endangered species like the North Atlantic right whale. The suit also names Interior Secretary Debra Haaland and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. "The North Atlantic right whale is on the verge of extinction. However, one of its longtime safe havens – where there is ample food and protective areas for birthing and rearing young – is the area immediately south-southwest of Nantucket Island," the lawsuit reads.
Little is known about the impact offshore wind could have on wildlife. Scientists across the country agree we need to be monitoring its potential impacts, though it’s not consistently studied across the country. “I believe strongly in responsible development of offshore wind. I think it is a key to fighting climate change,” said Jessica Redfern, a senior scientist at the New England Aquarium. “What’s critically important is that it is responsibly developed and to have responsible development, we need to continue monitoring and understanding species numbers, understanding a species that are in the area, how long they’re there.”
Bob Vanasse, who heads the fishing advocacy group Saving Seafood, said Vineyard Wind and other projects proposed in the region could impact a range of significant fisheries, including squid, clams and scallops. “There are a number of groups in various fisheries who have raised concerns about the insufficiency of the planning and review effort,” he said Wednesday. “This group is far from alone in that.” Vineyard Wind also comes years after the infamous Cape Wind project, which failed after bitter litigation from another group that included Nantucket property owners.
“The construction of these turbines is set to take place in a nexus of activity of the North Atlantic right whale, a critically endangered baleen whale with a population of fewer than 400 specimens remaining in the world,” the group said in a statement Tuesday. The group also launched a website, ackrats.com, where it said, “We are concerned with the adverse impacts from the increased construction vessel traffic, pile driving, and operational noise on the critically endangered,” whales.
The lawsuit, filed last December by Virginians for Responsible Energy and 14 residents of Botetourt and Rockbridge counties, asserts that the DEQ permit should be vacated because the agency cut corners in a process that ignored the adverse impacts of building turbines more than 600 feet tall along a remote county ridgeline. Friday’s hearing did not address the merits of the case, instead focusing on several defenses raised by DEQ and Apex on procedural grounds.
Since announcing plans for the wind farm in 2015, Apex Clean Energy has seen a number of setbacks. The most recent came last month, when county zoning administrator Drew Pearson determined that Apex had missed a May 26 deadline for county approval of a site plan. The Charlottesville company did not qualify for an exemption passed by the General Assembly for some projects that were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Pearson ruled.
Ridings and Davis are accused of scamming investors in a proposed wind farm project at Elm Springs. They are charged with multiple counts of wire fraud, aiding and abetting wire fraud, money laundering and aiding and abetting money laundering. ...Davis and Ridings of Dragonfly scammed six investors in Northwest Arkansas and southwest Missouri. Investors lost amounts ranging from $13,000 to $300,000, the indictment claims.
The North Dakota Public Service Commission voted 3-0 Wednesday to require that Minnesota Power remove the turbine within six months. The company can either leave it down or move it farther away from the home. ...The Kessler family raised a complaint with the PSC last year over the placement of the turbine, which is 1,125 feet away from the house. The turbine falls within the 1,400-foot buffer the company indicated it would maintain between turbines and occupied residences.
The case, being brought by some of the neighbouring landowners, is expected to decide once and for all whether the facility has caused “substantial and unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of the land” owned by its neighbouring farmers. ...Not only are the lawyers for the aggrieved landowners seeking aggravated and exemplary damages, to compensate the plaintiffs for their distress and to punish the operators for their alleged wrongdoing, they are also seeking abatement of the noise, potentially involving the shutting down of the facility at night.
A legal challenge by two lakeview condo dwellers seeking to block Lake Erie’s first offshore wind farm faces a high legal bar before the Ohio Supreme Court — with equally high stakes for clean energy in the region. The Icebreaker Windpower project’s six turbines would sit roughly 8 to 10 miles northwest of Cleveland and produce roughly 20.7 megawatts of electricity per year. The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation, or LEEDCo, has worked on the project for more than a decade.
“The Jones Act is very simple. If a foreign vessel picks up cargo at one point in the United States and takes it to another point, it has broken the law,” Smith continued. “Foreign vessels have succeeded in confusing this issue for a long time. Now, we’re going to shine a bright spotlight on their actions and show everyone just how many foreign mariners are taking money out of U.S. mariners’ pockets.
the lawsuit is being welcomed by some state lawmakers who argue the rapid review process curbs the ability of the state Department of Environmental Conservation to fully review energy projects and threatens farmland and the natural habitat of endangered species of wildlife. “It is the ultimate irony that in their rush to ‘save the environment,’ ORES and the Cuomo administration are violating a state law that is the cornerstone of New York’s environmental protection efforts," said state Sen. George Borrello, R-Chautauqua County. "That contradiction speaks volumes about the true motives behind this so-called ‘green energy’ agenda."
Led in part by Columbia County town officials, a group of municipalities and local environmental organizations are suing the Cuomo administration over what they say is the loss of their constitutional home rule rights by giving a special state panel - not localities - the power to approve large solar and wind farms.
In a lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court in Albany on Tuesday, the American Bird Conservancy and 12 other entities filed suit against New York state and its Office of Renewable Energy Siting, among others, charging they failed to comply with the state Environmental Quality Review Act in devising new siting regulations for green-energy projects through the state's Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act. The groups, in a statement, accused the agency and the state of taking "critical shortcuts" in the environmental and public review process for recently approved and sited projects.
Today, local governments, community organizations and conservation and public interest groups across New York State are set to file a lawsuit against the New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES) asserting a violation of New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). The lawsuit seeks to overturn regulations setting standard uniform conditions applicable to all renewable energy projects in the state. The coalition of plaintiffs alleges ORES failed to acknowledge that its regulations for siting power plants could result in even one significant adverse environmental impact, and as a result failed to prepare and environmental impact statement.
Ruby Mekker, in a letter on Monday to officials including Terry Young, interim president and CEO of the IESO, said the approval of the commercial operation date for the Nation Rise project “is illegal,” that the IESO has been provided with proof of adverse health effects, proof of mechanical/electrical issues with turbines, and proof of lack of commissioning. Mekker, in the email addressed by herself and Residents of North Stormont, said the “IESO was put on notice that the residents did not consent. It is illegal in Ontario to knowingly harm people per the Health Protection and Promotion Act. . . with the approval IESO is now on notice that they have broken Ontario law and are liable for any and all consequences.”