Fishing industry alliance files suit challenging approval of offshore wind farm near Martha’s Vineyard

Photo: Vineyard Wind
Photo: Vineyard Wind

The Responsible Offshore Development Alliance (RODA), a broad membership-based coalition of fishing industry associations and fishing companies, has filed suit challenging the US Department of the Interior's approval of a massive offshore wind project to be constructed on a 65,000-acre (26,300-hectare) tract in federal waters south of Martha's Vineyard.

The suit, filed in the US district court for the District of Columbia, names the Interior Department and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), among others.

The suit alleges that government agencies violated numerous environmental protection statutes in authorising the Vineyard Wind One offshore wind energy project.

Annie Hawkins, Executive Director of RODA, stated that the US government has "shortcut the statutory and regulatory requirements" that were enacted to protect the nation's environmental and natural resources in its haste to install large quantities of turbines towers and undersea cables off the eastern seaboard.

Ms Hawkins clarified that the fishing industry supports strong action on climate change but not at the expense of the ocean, its inhabitants, and sustainable domestic seafood.

On October 19, 2021, RODA issued the government agencies a 60-day Notice of its Intent to Sue if they did not comply with the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, and other federal environmental statutes. Ms Hawkins stated that RODA received no reply and the environmental violations were not remedied.

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