18 May 2023
The American Clean Power Association (ACP) applauded a Massachusetts federal judge for her ruling that resoundingly upheld key federal approvals for the Vineyard Wind 1 offshore wind farm currently under construction off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.
“The District Court held that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) fully complied with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in approving what is about to become the largest offshore wind farm in the United States,” said Josh Kaplowitz, ACP Vice President of Offshore Wind. “This opinion validates what we’ve been saying all along: the environmental review process for offshore wind projects is rigorous and effective at ensuring that these projects are built in an environmentally responsible manner. The federal government did its job, and they did it well.”
The District Court agreed with BOEM and NMFS that the best available science was considered in protecting the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale (NARW) and approving the project with an extensive suite of mitigation measures to reduce risk to the species. The court rejected all of the plaintiffs’ claims that the federal agencies had failed to analyze certain studies and data relating to the NARW.
“We know that offshore wind farms can be built and operated in a way that protects marine ecosystems,” said Kaplowitz. “Now it’s time to get steel in the water and start reaping the significant benefits that offshore wind affords: reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving our nation’s health, powering millions of homes with secure and reliable domestic energy, revitalizing our maritime and manufacturing sectors, and creating tens of thousands of good-paying American jobs.”
The District Court is expected to issue opinions in the coming weeks regarding two other challenges to the Vineyard Wind project. However, ACP stresses this opinion bodes well for the ability of this nascent industry to stand up to legal challenges from opponents of clean energy.
Click here to read the full text of the opinion.
ACP | www.cleanpower.org