Cape Wind has announced legal victories against project opponents in their four lawsuits that had challenged the offshore wind project's permitting approval by the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI).
In his rulings, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton rejected the plaintiffs' request to vacate the offshore wind lease for the 468 MW project, being developed off the coast of Nantucket Island.
According to the developer, Walton dismissed a long list of legal claims, including arguments over navigational safety, alternative locations, alternative technologies, historic preservation, Native American artifacts, sea turtles, and the adequacy of the project's environmental impact statement and biological opinions.
In two instances, however, the judge has asked federal agencies to clarify findings on whales and birds. The order indicates that the case is administratively closed until the court is provided with the clarifications. Cape Wind says it expects these two compliance actions to be minor agency administrative actions that will not impact the project's financing schedule.
The four legal challenges were originally filed in 2010 by the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, the Town of Barnstable, the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe and the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
Prior to these latest decisions, Cape Wind says it has won a series of legal challenges brought by the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound and other project opponents. In January, for example, a federal court upheld the Federal Aviation Administration's approval of the wind farm. However, the alliance promptly filed a separate lawsuit regarding Cape Wind's power purchase agreement with utility company NSTAR.