Description: Challenge to Bureau of Ocean Energy Management approvals for the Vineyard Wind offshore wind project off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Responsible Offshore Development Alliance v. U.S. Department of the Interior
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 06/27/2022 Opinion and Order Download Motions to transfer granted and motion to intervene granted. D.C. Federal Court Transferred Vineyard Wind Challenges to Massachusetts. The federal district court for the District of Columbia granted federal defendants’ motion to transfer lawsuits challenging the Vineyard Wind offshore wind-turbine project to the District of Massachusetts. The court found that the lawsuit could properly have been brought in the District of Massachusetts because much of the federal agency work at issue occurred in regional offices in Massachusetts and because more than 60 of the vessels and businesses that were members of a plaintiff organization that opposed transfer appeared to be located in Massachusetts. The court further found that two of the public interest factors—the interest in having local controversies decided locally and judicial economy—favored transfer due to parallel litigation already pending in the District of Massachusetts and the local impacts of the project. In addition, the court found that two private interest factors (where the case arose and the defendants’ forum choice) weighed in favor of transfer, while the plaintiffs’ forum choice weighed weakly against transfer and other private interest factors were neutral. 03/03/2022 Reply Download Reply memorandum filed in support of defendants' motion to transfer venue to District of Massachusetts. 02/25/2022 Opposition Download Opposition filed by plaintiff to federal defendants' motion to transfer venue. 02/18/2022 Motion Download Memorandum filed in support of defendants' motion to transfer venue to the District of Massachusetts. 02/11/2022 Motion to Intervene Download Statement of points and authorities filed in support of Vineyard Wind 1 LLC's motion for leave to intervene. 01/31/2022 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Fishing Industry Group Challenged Vineyard Wind Project. A nonprofit corporation with members from major fishing associations, dealers, seafood processors, affiliated businesses, and fishing vessels filed a lawsuit in the federal district court for the District of Columbia challenging Bureau of Ocean Energy Management approvals for the Vineyard Wind offshore wind project off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The plaintiffs asserted that the federal defendants failed to comply with the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, NEPA, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Merchant Marine Act of 1920, and Administrative Procedure Act. The complaint’s climate change-related allegations included that the EIS for the project did not sufficiently evaluate the project’s impacts on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, including because it quantified only emissions offsets from the project and included limited information about construction emissions and no information about supply chain emissions. The complaint also alleged a failure to compare the project’s climate benefits with alternative renewable energy sources or alternative locations or designs, and that there was no “cumulative-level analysis of climate impacts (positive or negative) associated with the proposed scale of offshore wind development.” Regarding its Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act claim, the complaint alleged a violation of the “protection of the environment requirement,” including because more frequent and intense tropical storms due to climate change could lead to “catastrophic release” of oil and other contaminants from the wind turbine generators.