Articles filed under Legal
Public Advocate Timothy Schneider said the move was made after his office reviewed its previous position and decided that the deal would not undermine state utility regulation or threaten ratepayers with higher energy prices. “We have a mandate to protect ratepayers,” said Schneider.
"If instead of a judicial robe, I were to wear the hat of John Muir or Milton Friedman, I might well conclude that the Cape Wind project should have been built elsewhere (or not built at all), or that the NStar-Cape Wind contract should never have been approved," Stearns wrote. ...The banks expect to provide more than $400 million in debt themselves in addition to $900 million in potential financing from other sources.
Stuber said Fish and Wildlife originally wanted to grant five-year permit but the wind industry pushed for an extended period for more continuity. He said the 30-year permit requires regulators to anticipate problems ahead of time.
SDG&E filed a lawsuit Dec. 19 in California Superior Court seeking to terminate the power purchase and investment contracts alleging NaturEner did not meet avian protections called for in the contracts. Late last month, it filed an amended complaint alleging NaturEner fraudulently concealed that federal wildlife officials recommend an eagle take permit.
American Bird Conservancy (ABC)—has announced its intention to sue the Department of the Interior (DOI), charging DOI with multiple violations of federal law in connection with its December 9, 2013, final regulation that allows wind energy companies and others to obtain 30-year permits to kill eagles without prosecution by the federal government.
The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) today sent a notice of intent to sue to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe saying the group plans to take legal action against the Interior Department and FWS over the revised eagle "take" rule announced in December 2013 and implemented earlier this year.
Stearns said he doubted the plaintiffs — which include several Cape Cod businesses, individuals, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound and the town of Barnstable — could get past the constitutional amendment which generally gives states immunity from being sued.
The renewable energy approval puts the burden of proof on the appellants to prove serious harm to health from the project, and the tribunal found they did not prove it to a level of scientific certainty. That's despite testimony from several property owners who say they experience health problems.
The project was hinging on the decommissioning of the Grantsville VOR/DME system, which drew opposition from Ed Kelley, manager of the Garrett County Airport, and the Maryland Aviation Administration. The Grants-ville VOR/DME system will be decommissioned, according to Maisano.
The three-judge panel also said the citizens group’s lawsuit was not the primary reason for the company’s failure to proceed with the project in a timely manner. Instead, the company had told the press that it was delaying construction until it learned if Congress would extend the federal Production Tax Credit.
A New Jersey company is appealing the state's rejection of its plan to build a wind farm off the coast of Atlantic City. Fishermen's Energy filed an appeal Monday with the state Board of Public Utilities, saying the agency erred when it rejected the plan last month.
In a surprising twist of the plot, the Ontario Court of Appeal granted a stay last week, barring a developer from proceeding with construction of an industrial wind turbine project at Ostrander Point in North Marysburgh. The court went further—seemingly pushing open a wide doorway through which the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists will pursue an appeal to a Divisional Court decision in February that restored the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) permit to a unit of Gilead Power Corporation.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has appealed a Kennebec County judge’s ruling that chastised Commissioner Patricia Aho for her role in responding to complaints by neighbors over noise from Vinalhaven wind turbines. “On behalf of DEP, the attorney general’s office has filed an appeal of the Superior Court’s decision in the Fox Islands Wind case,” DEP communications director Jessamine Logan said.
The Wisconsin Realtors Association, Wisconsin Builders Association, Wisconsin Towns Association and others filed suit, claiming that Public Service Commission rule 128 is invalid because it was installed without a housing impact report. A Brown County judge upheld the PSC’s rules and Tuesday’s decision affirmed that ruling.
Wants reversal of planning commission, ZBA decisions on turbine noise
Opponents of a Northeast Kingdom wind project have asked the Vermont Supreme Court to overturn a permit to install test towers on Seneca Mountain. Their arguments center around balloons and aesthetics. In their annual session at the Vermont Law School, justices heard arguments involving a Public Service Board decision to allow a wind developer to erect four test towers.
The judge, in his ruling, didn't suggest the project would cause harm to the whales or protected migratory birds such as the piping plover and roseate tern. But he did say the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Endangered Species Act by not making an independent evaluation of plans for a seasonal shutdown of the wind farm's rotors to avoid possible collisions with the birds.
Susan Lodl was taken aback when she and other residents in the Sheboygan County village of Cascade received postcards in 2009 describing plans to use about $500,000 of village money on two wind turbines to power a new wastewater treatment plant. ...Lodl said she found a pattern of vague and misleading agenda items that failed to give residents proper notice and a chance for input.
In a ruling issued Monday, Kennebec County Superior Court justice Michaela Murphy overturned a controversial regulatory decision Aho made in June 2011 involving noise violations at a Vinalhaven wind farm, saying there was “no rational basis or relevant evidence” to support it. Aho’s decision, which reversed the recommendations of DEP staff and the Attorney General’s Office, was the exact outcome sought by Vinalhaven’s Fox Island Wind, which was represented by Pierce Atwood, the state’s largest law firm, where Aho had worked until earlier that year.
At issue is the role of each company in the electricity market. Emera distributes electricity. First Wind generates it, through wind turbines. When Emera joined with First Wind in 2012 to create a new power generating company, that presented a problem, says Eric Bryant, senior counsel with the Maine Public Advocate. "Because it controls the poles and the wires, it could do things to its grid that would favor one type of generator over another," Bryant says.