They are the final lawsuits outstanding for Vineyard Wind, although appeals are under way, said a Vineyard Wind spokesperson. The wind farm is currently under construction.
“Plaintiffs have not shown that defendants acted arbitrarily, capriciously, or otherwise unlawfully,” ruled judge Indira Talwani of the US district court of Massachusetts.
Five fishing companies led by Seafreeze Shoreside sued the US Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in 2021.
Vineyard Wind, which consists of Iberdrola’s Avangrid and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, was named as an intervenor-defendant.
Responsible Offshore Development Alliance (RODA) – a fishing group formed out of opposition to offshore wind – filed a second, similar suit against the same agencies and they were consolidated.
The plaintiffs accused the US government of violating a range of legislation – including the Clean Water Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the National Environmental Policy Act – in approving the lease and Vineyard 1’s construction and operations plan.
The project is the first commercial-scale offshore wind project in the US.
In one of the complaints, the plaintiffs said fishermen would be “ruined” financially if the project proceeds because of disruption to fishing.
Judge Talwani said the approval has not been shown to be illegal under the environmental legislation cited.
SeaFreeze has since filed an appeal in federal court, but RODA had not yet done so, as of last week.
“We represented the six plaintiffs and disagree with the court’s decision on both the merits and procedural grounds of the case,” said Ted Hadzi-Antich, a senior attorney at the Centre for the American Future at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
“We have appealed…but have yet to hear if RODA will also appeal,” he said.
“We’re pleased the court has acknowledged the rigorous and thorough administrative review that our project underwent over the last many years,” said a spokesperson for Vineyard Wind. “We remain committed to working with all stakeholders so that we can continue to set the highest possible standards on this first-in-the nation project.”