Seafood Industry Groups, Towns Asked Judge to Block NY Wind Farm

(CN) – Seafood industry groups, commercial fishermen and several Long Island communities asked federal judge Tuesday to block a lease awarded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for a $42.5 million wind farm off the coast of New York.

In a motion filed with a federal judge in Washington, D.C., the plaintiffs claim the bureau violated the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act when it allowed Statoil Wind  “to submit an unsolicited bid to lease any area of the ocean they choose for a wind energy facility.”

The wind farm is currently slated to be located about 13 miles off the coast of Long Island, New York.

The motion claims the defendants also violated the National Environmental Policy Act and Administrative Procedure Act when they failed to properly segment their analysis of the project, and to consider the possible damages that the wind farm could cause to “fisheries, ocean and benthic fish habitat, protected species, navigation and others prior to issuing the final sale notice.”

The plaintiffs claim that instead of taking the required “hard look” at the environmental effects of the project, the bureau “simply rubber-stamped the site and issued the lease.”

Plaintiffs are seeking declaratory and injunctive relief on claims of violations of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

They are represented by David from Kelley, Drye & Warren LLP in Washington, D.C.

In a statement provided to Courthouse News, Elin Isaksen, spokeswoman for Statoil ASA, said, “As the lease holder, Statoil has been granted the right to participate in the litigation as a defendant intervenor and has previously filed information with the court regarding the stages of project development, types of activities the company will perform under the lease and other relevant facts. As we do with all our offshore wind projects, Statoil will continue to actively engage with stakeholders to foster respectful and informative dialogue around issues related to the project.”

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