In the Courts

Fisherman, Landowners Hope To Stymie Biden Admin’s Pursuit Of Offshore Wind With Lawsuits

Lawsuits from landowners and fishing groups threaten to undermine the Biden administration’s offshore wind goals, according to E&E News.

A major 62-turbine offshore wind project planned for construction in the waters near Martha’s Vineyard is being challenged by four separate lawsuits, which argue that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) did not conduct an adequate environmental review prior to approving the project, E&E News reported. Concerns revolve around the project’s impact on fishermen and threats to whales living in the waters, particularly the endangered North American right whale.

The Vineyard Wind project, approved in 2021, is a central part of the Biden administration’s goal to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2030. It was also the first major offshore wind project approved to be constructed in the U.S.

Two of the lawsuits brought by landowners have already gone before a Massachusetts federal judge for oral arguments, and the same judge will hear the other two brought by fishing groups during consolidated oral arguments on Monday, according to E&E News.

Texas Public Policy Foundation Executive Director & General Counsel Robert Henneke, who is representing the fishing groups, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the lawsuit is about protecting its clients from “unproven offshore wind farm operations that actually cause environmental harm to our oceans” and threaten to eliminate “a way of life they’ve had for generations.”

The complaint says that the government disregarded its legal responsibilities in its “unintelligent pursuit” of increasing renewable energy generation at “any cost,” requesting the court “enjoin further construction of the Vineyard Wind project.”

“[Plaintiffs] livelihoods and economic futures depend on fishing in the Vineyard Wind project area,” the complaint states.

Biden’s recent budget proposal allocated $60 million to expanding offshore wind permitting activities, which fishermen say threatens their businesses.

“Offshore wind will put American fishermen out of business,” Jerry Leeman, a commercial fishing captain, previously told the DCNF. “Developers and public officials are laying plans for wind farms that cover 10 million square acres off the coast of Maine alone. Those are highly productive waters that will be permanently closed to our boats.”

BOEM told the DCNF it is not their policy to comment on litigation.

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Katelynn Richardson

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