Posted on September 16, 2021
Responsible Offshore Development Alliance (RODA), a membership-based coalition of fishing industry associations and fishing companies, revealed that it has filed a Petition for Review in the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals regarding the Secretary of the Interior’s approval the Vineyard Wind 1 offshore wind energy project.
The Vineyard Wind 1 project will be located approximately 12 nautical miles offshore Martha’s Vineyard and 12 nautical miles offshore Nantucket in the northern portion of Vineyard Wind’s lease area. It is expected to create 3,600 jobs and provide enough power for 400,000 homes and businesses annually. The project is being developed by Vineyard Wind LLC based in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The company is 50 percent owned by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and 50 percent by Avangrid Renewables.
In a statement, RODA outlined that The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)’s “hasty approval of this project, adds unacceptable risk to this sustainable industry without any effort to minimize unreasonable interference with traditional and well-managed seafood production and navigation”.
Anne Hawkins, Executive Director of RODA, stated: “This is a precedent-setting decision by BOEM, and it is critical that they get it right so that future projects are following a trusted roadmap instead of a flawed and dangerous example.”
“Unfortunately, this lawsuit is the only recourse fishermen have to ensure the fishing communities’ concerns are addressed.”
According to RODA, the fishing industry has consistently voiced serious concerns about the Vineyard Wind project. They allege project design approved by BOEM would endanger fishermen by placing turbines too close together for fishing vessels to safely navigate in inclement weather or heavy seas.
RODA stated: “Based on their understanding of the connectivity of marine systems, fishermen have also repeatedly requested a cumulative impact assessment of offshore wind development to fish and protected resources. Unfortunately, BOEM has not taken a holistic approach to address the cumulative impact of offshore wind on the ocean ecosystem and shoreside communities. It is impossible to effectively plan a new ocean industry without such an analysis, especially one with such a large environmental footprint.”
“The federal government must provide prudent and unbiased oversight in energy policy, carefully balancing multiple public interests. Instead, BOEM has failed to sincerely consider any mitigation measures beyond those voluntarily suggested by the investment banks and multinational energy giants to which it is leasing federal lands and waters. Climate change must be addressed, but in a way that deliberatively minimizes these emerging technologies’ direct impacts to marine ecosystems, biodiversity, and food security.”