Articles filed under Legal
A legal challenge by two lakeview condo dwellers seeking to block Lake Erie’s first offshore wind farm faces a high legal bar before the Ohio Supreme Court — with equally high stakes for clean energy in the region. The Icebreaker Windpower project’s six turbines would sit roughly 8 to 10 miles northwest of Cleveland and produce roughly 20.7 megawatts of electricity per year. The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation, or LEEDCo, has worked on the project for more than a decade.
the lawsuit is being welcomed by some state lawmakers who argue the rapid review process curbs the ability of the state Department of Environmental Conservation to fully review energy projects and threatens farmland and the natural habitat of endangered species of wildlife. “It is the ultimate irony that in their rush to ‘save the environment,’ ORES and the Cuomo administration are violating a state law that is the cornerstone of New York’s environmental protection efforts," said state Sen. George Borrello, R-Chautauqua County. "That contradiction speaks volumes about the true motives behind this so-called ‘green energy’ agenda."
Led in part by Columbia County town officials, a group of municipalities and local environmental organizations are suing the Cuomo administration over what they say is the loss of their constitutional home rule rights by giving a special state panel - not localities - the power to approve large solar and wind farms.
In a lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court in Albany on Tuesday, the American Bird Conservancy and 12 other entities filed suit against New York state and its Office of Renewable Energy Siting, among others, charging they failed to comply with the state Environmental Quality Review Act in devising new siting regulations for green-energy projects through the state's Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act. The groups, in a statement, accused the agency and the state of taking "critical shortcuts" in the environmental and public review process for recently approved and sited projects.
Today, local governments, community organizations and conservation and public interest groups across New York State are set to file a lawsuit against the New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES) asserting a violation of New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). The lawsuit seeks to overturn regulations setting standard uniform conditions applicable to all renewable energy projects in the state. The coalition of plaintiffs alleges ORES failed to acknowledge that its regulations for siting power plants could result in even one significant adverse environmental impact, and as a result failed to prepare and environmental impact statement.
Ruby Mekker, in a letter on Monday to officials including Terry Young, interim president and CEO of the IESO, said the approval of the commercial operation date for the Nation Rise project “is illegal,” that the IESO has been provided with proof of adverse health effects, proof of mechanical/electrical issues with turbines, and proof of lack of commissioning. Mekker, in the email addressed by herself and Residents of North Stormont, said the “IESO was put on notice that the residents did not consent. It is illegal in Ontario to knowingly harm people per the Health Protection and Promotion Act. . . with the approval IESO is now on notice that they have broken Ontario law and are liable for any and all consequences.”
Iberdrola SA's Chairman and Chief Executive Ignacio Sanchez Galan has been named a suspect by Spain's national court in a criminal investigation into alleged corporate spying, EFE reports, citing a court document.
A Tulsa federal refused to reverse part of a Magistrate Judge’s opinions against Osage Wind, LLC in a lawsuit filed 7 years ago over its installation of 84 wind turbines in Oklahoma’s Osage County.
“The subject matter of the anticipated suit includes gross negligence and various subcategories of negligence.” Sentry is said to have failed to provide a "first aid station, an infirmary, or other medical services for the treatment of injured employees and – in a serious violation of safety protocols – also failed to have a person with first-aid training readily available at the work site to render first aid.”
The court ruled that because BOEM doesn't technically commit to anything at the lease stage, it is too early to challenge the siting of the wind farm under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The decision means that affected parties cannot challenge a lease location under NEPA until BOEM approves a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) for the wind farm. However, that is very late in the process, and changing the lease location at such a late date would be exceedingly difficult.
“Antrim Wind appears to argue that, although it is working in good faith to ensure a functioning ADLS, these efforts are essentially gratuitous,” Senior Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Environmental Protection Bureau Allen Brooks wrote in the analysis. “if this position is accepted, Antrim Wind is under no obligation to ever properly run the ADLS.”
Apex Clean Energy Inc. continues working toward a day when wind turbines standing atop Botetourt County’s North Mountain might generate enough energy to power up to 21,000 homes each year.
On May 7, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) published a proposed rule that would revoke the Trump administration’s decision that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) does not apply to the incidental take of protected migratory birds. If finalized, the proposed rule would represent a return to pre-Trump years, when courts disagreed about the scope of the MBTA, and USFWS exercised broad discretion whether to seek civil or criminal penalties against parties whose activities unintentionally harmed or killed migratory birds.
Thomas Melone’s solar projects planned for the Apple Hill neighborhood in Bennington have so far generated more litigation than electrons.
A local couple have remained busy in their effort to derail a plan to construct wind turbines on Dan’s Mountain. Harwood subdivision residents Darlene and William Park, with the support of numerous neighbors, have been engaged in a legal battle against Dan’s Mountain Wind Force LLC. Their efforts have led to the project being stalled as they battle it in two courts.
Ms Villey-Migraine said: “They are on top of a mountain, in a region with protected species including golden eagles. 'One young eagle was killed by a turbine and the death of a cinereous vulture led to an order for the turbines to turn only at night'. "There are also restrictions due to bats. Other turbines on the mountains threaten protected species, but these were the only ones we could challenge in the courts over the building permit.”
The claim stems from a Jan. 9 incident in which 24-year-old Stringer attempted to dig out a coworker following a trench collapse at the Skookumchuck Wind Farm along the Lewis and Thurston county border. A second collapse buried and killed Stringer after he jumped in the trench attempting to save his coworker.
"The judgment does not help us as an industry," said Wolfram Axthelm managing director of the German Wind Energy Association (BWE) to the Handelsblatt. The challenge remains of balancing the protection of the individual birds and the protection of the population. The ball is now with the legislature in Germany. "The Environment Ministers' Conference has taken up the topic and must now come to results as quickly as possible," said Axthelm.
U.S. District Judge James Payne’s ruling that the work did not constitute mining was overturned by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Subsequently, Osage Wind LLC contended it did not trespass and violate laws based on its argument that it had acted on legal advice which said a mining permit was not necessary.
The proceeding contends the town rushed the process through without the proper review and did so in part to thwart the residents’ efforts to incorporate the hamlet as a village. It also says the developer "purchased the town’s compliance," referring to a $28.9 million community benefits package offered by the developers as part of the deal.