Vineyard Wind is requesting a superseding order from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to overturn denial of the project’s application before the Edgartown Conservation Commission.
Last week, according to a local report from The Martha’s Vineyard Times, the commission voted 5-1 to deny a cable permit for the proposed offshore wind project.
Vineyard Wind says it had provided the commission with a detailed, comprehensive filing and responded to all additional requests for information. Further, the commission had access to the project’s construction and operations plan, was provided the decommissioning section of the federal draft environmental impact statement, received confirmation that the project would not impact endangered species from the state’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, and received a copy of all documents associated with the environmental impact report certified by the Massachusetts Environmental Protection Act office.
“Vineyard Wind always places a priority on working with local communities and was fully responsive to all information requests received from the Edgartown Conservation Commission,” says Erich Stephens, chief development officer of Vineyard Wind. “We are disappointed in the commission’s decision, which was flawed, inconsistent with the evidence before it, and in contrast to the conclusions of many other regulatory authorities. Vineyard Wind unfortunately has no choice but to request a superseding order from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.”
Locally, Vineyard Wind has received permits or approvals from the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board, the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act office, the Cape Cod Commission, the Barnstable Conservation Commission, the Martha’s Vineyard Conservation Commission, and the Nantucket Conservation Commission. The state Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program has also determined that the project will not have an adverse effect on rare, threatened or endangered species. In April, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities approved long-term power purchase agreements between Vineyard Wind and Massachusetts’ electric distribution companies for the delivery of offshore wind energy. Vineyard Wind has also entered into a host community agreement with the Town of Barnstable and a community benefits agreement with nonprofit energy cooperative Vineyard Power, which serves Martha’s Vineyard. Fishing representatives for the project include the New Bedford Port Authority, the Massachusetts Lobsterman’s Association and the Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust.
“Vineyard Wind is confident that a thoughtful deliberation of the wealth of available scientific information regarding the project will convince the DEP to issue an order of conditions that ensures local environmental protections while advancing a project that is poised to make a difference in an era of global climate crisis that is impacting New England’s shoreline and fisheries,” adds Stephens.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management delayed the issuance of Vineyard Wind’s final environmental impact statement.