Documents from Massachusetts
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has made a Finding of Adverse Effect (Finding) for the Vineyard Wind Construction and Operations Plan (COP) on the Gay Head Lighthouse, the Nantucket Island National Historic Landmark (Nantucket NHL), submerged paleolandforms as contributing elements to the Nantucket Sound Traditional Cultural Property (Nantucket Sound TCP), and the Chappaquiddick Traditional Cultural Property (Chappaquiddick TCP), pursuant to 36 CFR 800.5. Resolution of all adverse effects to historic properties will be codified in a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), pursuant to 36 CFR 800.6(c).
This letter by US NOAA Fisheries Northeast Regional Administrator Mike Pentony raises serious concerns regarding the impacts of the 800 MW Vineyard Wind offshore wind facility proposed off the coast of Massachusetts. Concerns center on impacts to New England’s fisheries, marine life, and ocean habitats. The letter was sent to Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and provides comment on the project's Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). A portion of the letter is provided below. The full letter can be downloaded from the document links on this page.
The Massachusetts Appeals Court upheld a lower court's decision to deny intervention involving action between the town of Falmouth and the Falmouth zoning board of appeals in which judgment had already entered. The judgment declared that two wind turbines operated by the town were a nuisance and ordered that their operation cease and desist. The proposed interveners claimed that they were entitled to intervention as of right because they had compelling interests that were no longer being adequately represented by the town. The lower court ruled, and the appellate court affirmed that the motion be denied since the interveners could not likely establish standing, and that the motion was untimely. A portion of the 10-page order is provided below. The full order can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
This important letter to the Town of Falmouth (Massachusetts) explains how the relocation of the Wind 2 turbine would result in continued noise violations. The author, Robert Rand, an acoustician experienced in turbine noise, warned that the turbine would need to be situated at least 2923 feet from the nearest neighbor in order to remain in compliance with governing noise regulations. The letter is posted below and accessible by clicking the document icon on this page. The supporting evidence is included with the document.
This important letter by acoustician Stephen Ambrose explains how two separate court decisions, one in Massachusetts and the other in Michigan, together provide clarity on what the minimum protective noise limits should be when siting industrial wind energy facilities. Mr. Ambrose's letter includes links to the two decisions as well as supporting background information. The content of the letter is shown below. The original can be downloaded from this page.
In this important ruling issued by Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Cornelius J. Moriarty II, the court ordered that the decision of the Falmouth MA Zoning Board of Appeals be affirmed to the extent that the operation of Wind 1 and Wind 2 constitute a nuisance and that the Town of Falmouth cease and desist operation of the wind turbines immediately. The full order can be accessed by clicking the document icon located on this page.
This paper reports on research that looked at wind data collected offshore along the Northeast Unitied States. The paper's main finding is that atmospheric conditions around Cape Wind are predominantly turbulent, or unstable, which is very different from prevailing data from European offshore wind farms in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. Wind conditions at Cape Wind were shown to be unstable between 40 and 80 percent of the time, depending on season and time of day, The abstract of the paper is provided below. The full paper can be accessed from the links on this page.
In this detailed ruling issued by the Falmouth Zoning Board of Adjustment in reference to Wind 1, one of two Vestas 1,65 MW turbines sited at the town's water treatment center, the board listed 38 separate finding on whether a permit should be issued that would allow the turbine to continue operating. The turbine was shut down following a court ruling that found the turbine was erected the town without first securing a permit. Some of the 38 findings are provided below. The full document can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
A Massachusetts state board has issued a draft decision denying the extension of permits that would enable Cape Wind to build an electricity transmission line to connect its proposed offshore wind farm to land. The draft decision offers an informative discussion of the now historical events leading to the denial. The full decision can be accessed by clicking the link on this page.
On the morning of March 5, 2016, the Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) deliberated over whether the Town's application for a special permit to retain Wind 1 should be approved. Wind 1 is the first of two Vestas V82 1.65 MW turbines erected at the community's wastewater treatment facility. The turbines created significant controversy following noise complaints by nearby residents beginning in 2010 when the turbines were first turned on. In a February 2015 ruling, the Massachusetts appeals court found that the Town of Falmouth failed to meet the requirements under the local bylaws when it erected Wind 1 without first obtaining a permit. The ZBA hearing was to determine whether a newly filed application met the requirements for a permit to be issued retroactively. Wind I has been idle since September 2015. The attached documents represent the arguments by the town's attorney (in favor of issuing a permit), the residents (on why a permit should not be issued), and a spreadsheet itemizing the decisions that need to be made the the ZBA. The below summary by Mark Cool explains how the Board ruled on each of the decisions.
Sarah Laurie, CEO of the Waubra Foundation in Australia, delivered this powerful speech before the Falmouth wind turbine demonstration held in Falmouth, MA on February 27, 2016.
This enforcement action was brought by the Town of Bourne in Massachusetts acting through its Board of Health. The purpose of the action is to require compliance with the Town's duly adopted Wind Energy Conversions System Regulations for a wind turbine system on land in the Towns of Bourne and Plymouth. The Town of Bourne seeks a Declaratory Judgment ruling that the wind turbine project is subject to the provisions of the Town's Board of Health Regulations and orders requiring the Defendant, Future Generation Wind, LLC to comply with the requirements of the Regulations. A portion of the complaint as filed is provided below. The full complaint can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
This letter written by William Hallstein, MD, a practicing psychiatrist with over 40 years of experience, was delivered to the Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals. Dr. Hallstein is also a resident of Falmouth Massachusetts. In his letter he explains the very real impact the Falmouth turbines on human health.
This important study conducted at a home situated within 1300 feet of the Falmouth MA wind turbines identified infrasonic sound pressure levels inside the residence. These results are similar to results from other international researchers with references given in the report. The executive summary and conclusions sections of the report are provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the link on this page.
This important ruling by the Massachusetts appeals court found that the Town of Falmouth was required to obtain a special permit for the wind turbine (Wind 1) sited at the town's wastewater treatment center. The town argued that no permit was necessary since the turbine was viewed as a municipal purpose and therefore exempt from the zoning ordinance. The appeals court voided the decision of the lower court.
Cape Wind, the first proposed offshore wind project in the United States, sent letters to the two utilities that contracted to purchase nearly 80% of the project's output, including energy, renewable energy credits (RECs) and capacity. The letters, one to National Grid, the other to NSTAR, stated the company was invoking the 'Force Majeure' clause of the contracts due to on-going litigation as its reason for not meeting the December 31, 2014 deadline for securing project financing. Both utilities responded within six days with official notice that the contracts were terminated. Cape Wind could have sought a six-month extension of the contracts by paying $1.29 million in consideration but opted not to take advantage of that option.
The town of Barnstable, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound and local businesses and residents filed a legal brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston this week seeking to overturn a lower court decision dismissing their lawsuit, which alleged that the state illegally coerced utility NSTAR to purchase power from the Cape Wind project. The introduction to the filing is provided below. The full appeal filed with the court can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
In this District Court ruling, Judge Reggie Walton found that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in their reviews of the offshore wind project. The court remanded the case to FWS to independently evaluate a shutdown of turbines during migratory bird season. The court also ruled that NMFS can no longer avoid fully evaluating impacts to right whales and must formulate and issue an incidental take statement because of the documented presence of this highly endangered species in the area. The conclusion of the ruling is provided below. The full ruling can be accessed by clicking the link on this page.
This case arises following the approval of a lease by the U.S. Department of Interior to Cape Wind Associates for construction of an offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound. Under the lease, Cape Wind must obtain the Federal Aviation Administration’s (“FAA”) determination whether the turbines pose a hazard to air navigation and comply with any mitigation measures before beginning construction. In Town of Barnstable, Mass. v. FAA, 659 F.3d 28 (D.C. Cir. 2011) (“Barnstable I”), the court held that the “no hazard” determinations in 2010 for each of the wind turbines in a 25–square mile area of Nantucket Sound were “inadequately justified.” Id. at 31. Petitioners now challenge the no hazard determinations in 2012 as similarly deficient for failing to analyze the safety risks posed by the project and to perform an environmental review required by the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), 42 U.S.C. § 4332. The court denies the petitions for review regarding the 2012 FAA determinations due to changes in radar technology and new FAA studies and analysis.