Documents filed under Legal
The Ninth District Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of the Oregon Natural Desert Association, and rejected a wind turbine project on Steens Mountain in southeast Oregon. The 104-megawatt project proposed by Columbia Energy Partners would have erected 70 wind turbines and a high-capacity transmission line on Steens Mountain. The approximately 100 MW Echanis project would be sent power to Southern California as part of an agreement with Southern California Edison. The project also included a high-capacity transmission lines that cut across potential sage grouse habitat within the protected Steens Cooperative Project. A summary of the order is provided below. The full decision can be found by clicking the links on this page. Also attached to this page are the legal arguments presented by the government and by the environmental groups from March 2016.
This split ruling by the Vermont Supreme Court regarding a permit granted for a 2.3-megawatt solar facility provides a useful examination of the debate over whether the views of local communities should hold significant weight when state siting boards have permitting authority. Ultimately the court ruled in favor of the project permit but a dissenting opinion issued by Judge Reiber offers a stinging response to the Vermont Public Service Board's decision to ignore community views when it permitted the project. Judge Reiber's opinion is provided below. The order can be accessed at the links included 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.
Friends of the Columbia Gorge and Save Our Scenic Area have petitioned the court to review Bonneville Power Administration’s ("BPA") June 24, 2015 Record of Decision (“ROD”) approving the interconnection of the Whistling Ridge Energy Project to BPA’s electricity transmission system, based on BPA’s analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”). This detailed brief filed on behalf of the groups provides an informative description of the circumstances surrounding BPA's decision and how the petitioners argue the NEPA provisions were incorrectly applied. A portion of the brief is provided below. The full document as filed with the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals can be accessed by clicking the link on this page.
This complaint, filed by residents of Fayette County, Indiana, seeks a declaratory judgment by the Fayette Circuit Court that both the Decommissioning Plan and its addendum between the county and NextEra Energy Resources in reference to the proposed Whitewater Wind facility, be declared invalid and void, for failing to comply with the county’s zoning ordinance. The complaint also seeks “costs of this action” and other relief. Paragraphs 9-13 of the complaint are presented below. The full complaint can be accessed by clicking the document on this page.
As of March 4, 2016, Apex filed a Notice of Tort Claim Pursuant to Indiana Code 34-13-3 (Indiana Tort Claims Against Governmental Entities and Public Employees Act). To summarize the notice, Apex claims that the commissioner’s official action on September 8th, 2015 to cease and desist all negotiations with Apex and to arbitrarily and capriciously reject the wind energy project will cause Apex to sustain economic losses. A portion of the tort claim is provided below. The full document can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
The AES Laurel Mountain wind energy facility consists of 61 GE 1.6 MW turbines (97.6 MW) and a 32 MW Battery Energy Storage System (BESS). On October 2 and 3, 2011, fog and a low cloud ceiling resulted in migrating songbirds becoming trapped in the light of the battery complex. A total of 483 birds were destroyed as a result of colliding with the battery system and wires. AES Laurel Mountain LLC was sentenced by U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Aloi to pay $30,000 in fines after pleading guilty to two federal charges related to the deaths, a crime under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). A portion of the filing is provided below. The full record can be accessed by downloading the documents attached to this page.
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.
The European Court of Justice has ruled against Bulgaria in a case brought by the European Commission against the country over its failure to protect unique habitats and important species in the Kaliakra special protection area at the Black Sea coast, the court announced on January 14 2016. Projects such as wind turbines, a golf course, spa and hotels have been approved and built in the area by Bulgarian authorities, despite the likelihood it would lead to significant disturbance of these protected species. As a result, the court has found Bulgaria to be breaching the EU’s Birds and Habitats Directives. A portion of the ruling is below. The full decision can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
In September, 2015 the Civitas Institute Center for Law and Freedom (CLF) filed suit against the NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on behalf of a Perquimans County couple. At issue is whether DEQ broke the law when it informed Iberdrola Renewables that its Amazon Wind Farm East would not be subjected to state regulatory standards. Soon after the filing, the Attorney General filed a motion to dismiss and supporting memoranda, to which CLF responded on November 19.
The U.S. District Court in Nevada has ordered that the federal Record of Decision, Final Environmental Impact Statement, and Biological Opinion issued on APEX Energy's Searchlight Wind project be vacated. A brief background is provided below. The vacate order can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) signed an 18-year contract for energy from the Papalote Creek Wind Farm II located in southeast Texas. The contact price was fixed for the term of the agreement at $64.75 a megawatt-hour. With wind now selling at half that price, LCRA is seeking to reduce its liability. There is a dispute between LCRA and Papalote Creek as to the cost if LCRA tries to end the contract early. This motion, filed by LCRA in federal court is intended to compel the wind company into arbitration in order to settle the dispute. LCRA sells wholesale power to dozens of Central Texas communities. A portion of the filing is provided below. The full motion can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
This important ruling by a panel of three Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Court judges reverses a county judge's order that allowed PPM Atlantic Renewable (now Iberdrola Renewables) to construct the South Chestnut Windpower Project in southern Fayette County, PA. The project consists of 24 turbines, each standing 425 feet tall. Ths week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the reversal. The decision, issued on May 20, 2014, upheld minimum setbacks from all property lines, not just participating landowners involved in the project (eliminating participating vs non-participating property owners), due to safety issues. It also upheld that sound studies and bat studies must be completed to allow the project to be built. Despite the appeal process continuing, Iberdrola went ahead and erected the turbines but the project was built without the proper permits and approximately 14-15 of the turbines are out of compliance with the setback restrictions. The facts in this case as affirmed by the Supreme Court are provided below. The three court decisions issued by the lower courts and the Supreme Court can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
Benjamin Riggs, the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association and others filed this complaint in Federal Court pertaining to the approval of an above-market power contract between Deepwater Wind and National grid. The plaintiffs initially pursued this matter before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”). However FERC chose not to act on it itself but rather to refer the matter to the courts. Consequently they ruled that “Our decision not to initiate an enforcement action means that Mr. Riggs may himself bring an enforcement action against the Rhode Island Commission in the appropriate court”. By law, that is federal court. The current action is limited to asking the federal government to assert its clear authority over the pricing mechanism for the Deepwater project. The complaint, a portion of which appears below, speaks for itself. The full complaint can be accessed by clicking the links on this page. In addition, the plaintiffs filed the attached Memorandum that explains the Motion for Summary Judgment.
In this very critical decision by the US District Court of Northern District of California (Judge Lucy H. Koh), the 30-year take permits for bald and golden eagles established by the US Fish and Wildlife Service have been set aside and remanded back to the Service. An excerpt of the ruling is provided below. The full ruling can be accessed by clicking the links on this page. The complaint filed by the plaintiffs can also be accessed from this page.
This complaint before the State of New York Supreme Court was filed by property owners in the Town of Yates, in Orleans County. The court action was in response to a resolution by the Town of Yates Town Board granting a special use permit for the installation of a 60 meter tall wind measurement tower ("MET tower") and the subsequent building permit issued to Donna Rae Bane. Ms. Bane owns the property on which the met tower will be sited.
In this important ruling, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington upheld the Court of Appeals order that Skamania failed to follow the requirements under the Growth Management Act.
The Wells County, Indiana Area Plan Commission approved a petition for the development of a large wind energy conversion system project that was filed by Wells County Wind II, LLC, Apex Clean Energy Holdings, LLC, and Apex Wind Energy, Inc. thereby allowing the construction of approximately 68 wind turbines on private property located in southern Wells County, Indiana. Adjacent landowners including James E. and Tamara L. Dunmoyer, Jr. and others filed with the trial court a two-count petition. In Count I, Landowners requested judicial review of the Zoning Decision, and in Count II they sought declaratory judgment on the setbacks supported by the county ordinance. The appellate county ruled that the county vote was not in error but found that the reciprocal setback provision of the ordinance was not legal. A portion of the ruling is presented below. The full ruling can be accessed at the links on this page..
This complaint filed by Mrs. Doreen Dotson and her sons David Dotson and Daniel Dotson argues that EDP Renewables North American and Rising Tree Wind Farm LLC bulldozed the Dotson family home after Mrs. Dotson refused to accept money to move from her property. The General Statement of the Case is provided below. The full complaint can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.