Articles filed under Legal

Two Norway wind farms lose licence in landmark ruling over indigenous rights

The supreme court case centred on whether the construction of turbines at Storheia and Roan in the Fosen region of central Norway, part of a $1.3 billion development that is Europe's largest onshore wind farm, had interfered with Sami herders' cultural rights under international conventions. "A grand chamber of the supreme court unanimously found an interference with this right, and ruled the wind power licence and the expropriation decision invalid," the court said in its ruling. It did not say what should happen next to the facilities, but a lawyer representing the herders said the verdict means the 151 wind turbines should be dismantled.
11 Oct 2021

Licence for wind power development on Fosen ruled invalid as the construction interferes with Sami reindeer herders' right to enjoy their own culture

The case concerned the question of whether the development of Storheia and Roan wind turbines at Fosen violates the reindeer herding Sami's right to cultural practice according to the UN Convention on Civil and Political Rights (SP) Article 27. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the rights have been violated, and that the decisions are invalid. For this reason, the discretion to determine compensation for the intervention was refused.
11 Oct 2021

Judge denies preliminary injunction rejecting challenge to office of renewable energy siting regulations

On September 22, 2021, Justice Peter Lynch of the New York State Supreme Court, Albany County denied the petitioners’ application in Town of Copake v. New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting, No. 905502-21 (Sup. Ct. Albany Cty. Sept. 24, 2021), rejecting a challenge to regulations promulgated by the New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES). Justice Lynch’s decision comes following an earlier ruling that denied the petitioners’ application for a temporary restraining order. These rulings have now twice affirmed the validity of the ORES regulations, which will play an important role in helping New York State to achieve its aggressive renewable energy goals.
4 Oct 2021

EDF denies Mexican court ruling over indigenous land challenge will affect wind farm

Under the ruling earlier this month, The First Collegiate Court of Administrative and Civil Matters of the Thirteenth Circuit, based in Oaxaca, voted unanimously to grant an injunction requested by the Juchitan de Zaragoza Farming Community blocking the development of energy projects on ancestral lands. ...“The Mexican State has not acted in any way in good faith, since there are already 29 wind farms in the region, none of them having respected the rights of self-determination and autonomy of indigenous peoples,” the body stated.
27 Sep 2021

French wind project in Oaxaca stopped after investing billions

The Gunaa Sicarú wind project of the multinational company Électricité de France (EDF) on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca, was stopped. A judge granted an amparo to the Agrarian Community of Juchitán, with this the company cannot continue with the project in the territory while the trial is carried out.
22 Sep 2021

They’re always there

Young Tarwin Lower farmer, Stuart Kilsby, told the Supreme Court last week that he was often anxious about going to the farm to work because of the turbine noise which is a constant frustration. The Kilsby farm is now dominated by seven turbines on their neighbours’ land, immediately adjacent to their boundary fence and eight more in close proximity.
21 Sep 2021

Community in Juchitán wins suspension against EDF wind farm

Bettina Cruz , a member of the APIIDTT, said at a press conference that the community filed the amparo against the wind farm, which seeks to produce 252 MW and obtained its permits in 2016. However, the company needs the authorization of the true owners of the the lands that are the commoners. “For that reason we decided to file an injunction with the community members. 
20 Sep 2021

Indigenous people warn of "false leaders" to approve projects against them

Indigenous organizations fear greater violence against land defenders after the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) ordered the Federal Congress to issue a law that regulates the right to prior, free and informed consultation on state or private projects that invade their lands. For more than a decade, the Legislature avoided carrying out an indigenous consultation law despite the fact that Mexico promised to do so and sign Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization. Thus, without a regulation to the consultation, 506 projects were given the green light that would impact 63 ethnic groups.
14 Sep 2021

'Siemens Gamesa infringed GE wind turbine grid technology patent', US judge says

A US judge has issued a preliminary ruling finding that Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) infringed a General Electric (GE) patent for low-voltage ride-through technology (LVRT) that keeps wind turbines connected to the grid. However, the judge rejected a similar intellectual property (IP) claim concerning GE’s zero-voltage ride-through (ZVRT) technology.
13 Sep 2021

Is it Cape Wind all over again? Nantucket residents file suit to block Vineyard Wind

Concerns about the fate of the right whale, whose population is dwindling, are not new. The downturn in the whale population is already happening without any wind farms being built, primarily because the whales are being hit by boats or becoming ensnared in fishing nets. Still, officials from 17 prominent environmental groups wrote a letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service in September 2020 raising concerns that regulators were failing to protect environmentally endangered mammals, including right whales, in their review of offshore wind projects. It’s unclear whether any changes were made in response to the letter; efforts to reach two of the signers were unsuccessful.  Erica Fuller of the Conservation Law Foundation in Boston did not return calls over a two-day period.
26 Aug 2021

Appellate court affirms injunction keeping NPPD from ending power contracts with wind farms

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a federal judge's order blocking Nebraska Public Power District from canceling power purchase agreements with four wind farms in the state. The publicly owned utility had argued that Elkhorn Ridge Wind LLC, Laredo Ridge Wind LLC, Broken Bow Wind LLC and Crofton Bluffs Wind LLC had violated the agreements by transferring control of their parent company's ownership interests without their consent. 
26 Aug 2021

Federal review of Vineyard Wind 'botched,' lawsuit alleges

The group, Nantucket Residents Against Turbines, says the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Marine Fisheries failed to ensure that Vineyard Wind would not jeopardize the survival of federally listed critically endangered species like the North Atlantic right whale. The suit also names Interior Secretary Debra Haaland and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. "The North Atlantic right whale is on the verge of extinction. However, one of its longtime safe havens – where there is ample food and protective areas for birthing and rearing young – is the area immediately south-southwest of Nantucket Island," the lawsuit reads.
26 Aug 2021

'Industrialization of our oceans': Nantucket residents sue feds over Vineyard Winds project

Little is known about the impact offshore wind could have on wildlife. Scientists across the country agree we need to be monitoring its potential impacts, though it’s not consistently studied across the country. “I believe strongly in responsible development of offshore wind. I think it is a key to fighting climate change,” said Jessica Redfern, a senior scientist at the New England Aquarium. “What’s critically important is that it is responsibly developed and to have responsible development, we need to continue monitoring and understanding species numbers, understanding a species that are in the area, how long they’re there.” 
26 Aug 2021

Concern about endangered whales cited in suit over wind farm

Bob Vanasse, who heads the fishing advocacy group Saving Seafood, said Vineyard Wind and other projects proposed in the region could impact a range of significant fisheries, including squid, clams and scallops. “There are a number of groups in various fisheries who have raised concerns about the insufficiency of the planning and review effort,” he said Wednesday. “This group is far from alone in that.” Vineyard Wind also comes years after the infamous Cape Wind project, which failed after bitter litigation from another group that included Nantucket property owners.
25 Aug 2021

Group to file lawsuit Wednesday against wind farm planned for waters off Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket

“The construction of these turbines is set to take place in a nexus of activity of the North Atlantic right whale, a critically endangered baleen whale with a population of fewer than 400 specimens remaining in the world,” the group said in a statement Tuesday. The group also launched a website, ackrats.com, where it said, “We are concerned with the adverse impacts from the increased construction vessel traffic, pile driving, and operational noise on the critically endangered,” whales.
24 Aug 2021

Lawsuit against wind farm in Botetourt County allowed to move forward

The lawsuit, filed last December by Virginians for Responsible Energy and 14 residents of Botetourt and Rockbridge counties, asserts that the DEQ permit should be vacated because the agency cut corners in a process that ignored the adverse impacts of building turbines more than 600 feet tall along a remote county ridgeline. Friday’s hearing did not address the merits of the case, instead focusing on several defenses raised by DEQ and Apex on procedural grounds.
20 Aug 2021

Wind farm developer appeals Botetourt County's decision that it missed a deadline

Since announcing plans for the wind farm in 2015, Apex Clean Energy has seen a number of setbacks. The most recent came last month, when county zoning administrator Drew Pearson determined that Apex had missed a May 26 deadline for county approval of a site plan. The Charlottesville company did not qualify for an exemption passed by the General Assembly for some projects that were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Pearson ruled.
5 Aug 2021

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