Judge rejects NIMBY’s offer to shut down offshore winds in New England

Renewable energy took a big win this week in Massachusetts. A federal judge in the state’s district court has dismissed a lawsuit brought by an alleged group of Nantucket residents, which sought to stop America’s first major offshore wind power project from moving forward.

Vineyard Wind, a $2.8 billion endeavor expected to generate enough energy to power 400,000 homes, was Endorsed by Joe Biden in May 2021. But the proposal has faced multiple legal challenges since –Climate deniersAnd Solar companyAnd, of course, NIMBYs. But at least one of those hurdles has now been removed.

The nonprofit organization behind the now-closed case was Nantucket Residents Against Turbines (officially abbreviated ACK RATs—which, lol), and has garnered support from the likes of Former Trump advisor David Stephenson. As the plaintiff, the ACK RATs argued that the proposed 84-turbine development could endanger the North Atlantic right whale and that federal agencies have not done enough to assess the impacts of a future wind farm on wildlife. but Science does not support these claimsSo is Presiding Judge Indira Talwani.

The plaintiffs failed to prove this [National Marine Fisheries Service] And [Bureau of Ocean Energy Management] I violated the Endangered Species Act or the National Environmental Policy Act… Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment was denied,” reads: discolorationThursday.

The only members named to the ACK RATs in this case are Amy DiSibio, who owns a vacation home on Nantucket Island, and Vallorie Oliver, who is actually a lifelong resident of the island, according to the legal filing. “Plaintiffs have not identified any of the members of the ACK RATs other than Oliver and DiSibio and provided no other information about its members,” Al-Talwani’s request notes.

However, even Oliver’s claims did not stand up to legal scrutiny, according to the judge. “Oliver’s strong ties to the Nantucket and ecosystem are not enough on their own. Proximity does not mean harm,” she writes.

Vineyard Wind was, of course, happy with the decision. The company’s CEO, Klaus Mueller, said in a statement Associated Press. “We remain committed to working with all stakeholders so that we can continue to set the highest possible standards on this first project in the country.”

Meanwhile, Prosecutor Oliver told the Associated Press that ACK RATs is considering future actions. “The Nantucketers against the turbines were clearly disappointed in the ruling,” she said. “We will take a few days to evaluate our options in the future.”

Right now, both wind and whale power are winning. CEO Moeller said that construction of Vineyard Wind is set to begin “within weeks,” according to The Martha’s Vineyard Times. And – as with Ground turbines and birds– The strength of the winds will almost certainly help the whales in the long run, not hurt them.

The idea that offshore winds harm whales is an increasingly popular argument against the renewed expansion promoted by (often wealthy) not-so-backyard, anti-turbine activists who don’t want their views of the ocean to be disrupted, as well as by Fossil fuel interest groups. False accounts of whales dying from turbines has spread Among conspiracy theorists posting on Facebook. It has become a thriving gathering point The false environment of the Republican Party which seeks to keep dirty energy on the agenda for as long as possible. But the concept is still not supported by scientific research and actual evaluation.

there No evidence That offshore wind activities or development may have killed a whale, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The agency has been studying and working to minimize potential offshore wind impacts on right whales in the North Atlantic more than a decade. Vineyard Wind, as with any other company that undertakes large-scale construction projects in the ocean, is required to mitigate its threat to wildlife, according to Peer-reviewed research. For example, the company has to make sure there are no whales in the area before it drives piles on the sea floor. They also have to adhere to strict boat speed limits to reduce the chance of being hit by whales (which is a… already known to kill whales).

The overwhelming scientific consensus is that climate change He is one of biggest threats For the survival of the right whale. The location of the marine mammal’s diet has shifted and become scarce as the oceans warm, increasing the vulnerability of endangered cetaceans. Effectively combating climate change requires alternative energy solutions that are free from fossil fuels – such as offshore wind. Building our green energy capabilities is crucial Protect all wild animalsincluding whales.

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