WASHINGTON (CN) – Environmental and trade groups are still trying to stop the Cape Wind Energy Project, an offshore wind farm planned for Nantucket Sound that they claim will hurt the fishing industry and several species of birds and whales.
In its federal complaint, the Martha’s Vineyard/Dukes County Fishermen’s Association claims the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement violated the Administrative Procedure Act by approving the project and imposing terms and conditions on fishermen without statutory authority.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement was formerly known as the Minerals Management Service. It is still a creature of the Department of Interior.
Small commercial fishermen say the plans for the wind farm, such as creation of fishing boat traffic lanes and the requirement for small fishing boats to have extra personnel on board, will put them out business.
“The Coast Guard will also require … the establishment of traffic lanes within the Cape Wind project area that will make it impossible for trawl fisherman to track and catch schools of fish in that area because fish neither know of nor follow traffic lanes,” the fishermen say in their complaint.
In a second federal complaint, six environmental groups, including the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, claim the wind farm will kill endangered species, including the critically imperiled North Atlantic Right Whale.
Their complaint also accuses the Bureau of violating the Administrative Procedure Act, by “authorizing a project that will kill migratory birds without obtaining authorization to do so.”
They say the Bureau also violated the National Environmental Policy Act by “issuing an Environmental Impact Statement that ignores or fails to take a ‘hard look’ at both alternatives to the lease applicant’s proposed project and the numerous ways in which the project will be harmful to wildlife and particularly to Right Wales and migratory birds.”
Project developer Cape Wind Associates wants to build 130 wind turbines in an area of Nantucket Sound known as Horseshoe Shoal.
Fishermen say the Shoal is an important area for commercial fishing, yielding squid, winter and summer flounder, sea bass, conch and clams.
The environmental groups say the wind farm will hurt birds and whales, and destroy the aesthetic value of the Sound.
Both complaints seek declaratory judgment that the project approval was arbitrary and capricious, and an injunction preventing its construction.
The environmental groups are represented by Eric Glitzenstein with Meyer Glitzenstein and the fishermen by David Frulla with Kelley Drye.