Wind Farm Weather Tower Clears Court Hurdle

A U.S. Federal District Court Judge denied a motion for a preliminary restraining order that would have blocked Cape Wind Associates (CWA) from placing a data collection tower on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound off the coast of Massachusetts…

Boston, Massachusetts – October 11, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] A U.S. Federal District Court Judge denied a motion for a preliminary restraining order that would have blocked Cape Wind Associates (CWA) from placing a data collection tower on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound off the coast of Massachusetts. “We see it as a real win, not just for us but for Renewable Energy in New England, Cape Cod and the islands,” said Mark Rodgers, communications director for CWA. “We’ll be on the water in the next few days (for installation) and hope to have the tower operational by early November.” A group of four plaintiffs including a yachting organization, a citizens group, a fisherman and a marine trades group brought the litigation against CPA, who was granted a permit to build the 200-foot data-collection tower earlier this year by the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE). John W. Spillane, a Hyannis, Massachusetts-based attorney representing the plaintiffs said his clients question the authority of the ACE to issue the permit. Spillane said his clients feel the tower and the proposed 170-turbine project will “violate the Cape and islands sanctuary law” and damage the “intercontinental shelf, a pristine environment.” He also questioned the need for the data considering more than a century of records collected by the U.S. Coast Guard and stored in the Library of Congress. Spillane said he is considering the group’s next legal move. “They’ve authorized me to move forward and do anything I can to stop it,” he said. The project developers are facing another lawsuit, this time brought by The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, a non-profit organization formed to permanently prevent development in the sound. The group’s Executive Director Isaac Rosen, who said he is “entirely for Renewable Energy,” said his group’s case argues that the Army Corps of Engineers has no legal basis to grant development rights in the sound because “developers don’t have property rights in the oceans.” “We consider this tower and the larger project to be a corporate land grab and an illegal one at that,” Rosen said. He called for “comprehensive siting standards” before offshore development – including wind farms, fossil fuel rigs and others – are allowed. CWA President Jim Gordon said in a statement that “the scientific data tower will allow us to collect essential data to respond to the comprehensive federal and state environmental review process currently underway.” “This is a legal victory for Cape and Massachusetts citizens who want to fully and fairly explore the potential of offshore wind energy on Horseshoe Shoal,” said Gordon.
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