Gone fishing

Source: BY MATTHEW CHOI, Politico • Posted: Tuesday, February 1, 2022

The Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, which counts fishing industry associations and companies among its members, filed a lawsuit Monday against the Interior Department and other agencies over its authorization of the Vineyard Wind 1 offshore wind project. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleges the administration “shortcut the statutory and regulatory requirements that were enacted to protect our nation’s environmental and natural resources, its industries, and its people” when it approved the construction and operations plan for the project off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The suit claims the administration failed to comply with multiple statutes, including the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, Clean Water Act and National Environmental Policy Act.

“The decisions on this project didn’t balance ocean resource conservation and management, and must not set a precedent for the enormous ‘pipeline of projects’ the government plans to facilitate in the near term. So we had no alternative to filing suit,” said Annie Hawkins, RODA’s executive director, in a statement. RODA had previously given the government a 60-day notice of intent to sue in October, but RODA said it received no reply. Interior did not comment on the lawsuit on Monday.

The Vineyard Wind project is facing several other lawsuits, including one filed last month by the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation on behalf of commercial fishermen in the same court.