The Responsible Offshore Development Alliance (RODA), a coalition of US fishing industry associations and fishing companies, is challenging the Interior Department’s approval of the Vineyard Wind 1 offshore wind energy project to be constructed on a 65,000-acre tract in federal waters south of Martha’s Vineyard. RODA’s suit, filed in US district court for the District of Columbia, names the US Interior Department and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, among others. It alleges that government agencies violated numerous environmental protection statutes in authorising the project in May 2021.
On October 19, 2021, RODA issued the government agencies a 60-day notice of its intent to sue if they did not comply with the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, and other federal environmental statutes.
“The Alliance received no reply, and the environmental violations were not remedied,” said Annie Hawkins, executive director of RODA. “The decisions on this project didn’t balance ocean resource conservation and management, and must not set a precedent for the enormous ‘pipeline of projects’ the government plans to facilitate in the near term. So we had no alternative to filing suit.”
Hawkins added, “The fishing industry supports strong action on climate change, but not at the expense of the ocean, its inhabitants, and sustainable domestic seafood.”
The 800 MW project is scheduled to begin delivering power to Massachusetts in 2023.