The developer of the first commercial-scale offshore wind project in the US is seeking a ‘superseding order’ to overturn a project application decision by the Edgartown Conservation Commission
Vineyard Wind chief development officer Erich Stephens said, “Vineyard Wind always places a priority on working with local communities, and was fully responsive to all information requests received from the Edgartown Conservation Commission.
“We are disappointed in the Commission’s decision, which was flawed, inconsistent with the evidence before it, and in contrast to the conclusions of many other regulatory authorities.
“Vineyard Wind unfortunately has no choice but to request a superseding order from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).”
Vineyard Wind stressed that the project provided the Edgartown Commission with a detailed, comprehensive filing, then responded to all additional requests for information.
In addition, the Commission had access to the project’s construction and operations plan, was provided the decommissioning section of the federal draft environmental impact statement, received confirmation that the project would not impact endangered species from the state’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, and received a copy of all documents associated with the Environmental Impact Report certified by the Massachusetts Environmental Protection Act office. The project was approved by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission in May 2019.
“Vineyard Wind is confident that a thoughtful deliberation of the wealth of available scientific information regarding the project will convince the DEP to issue an order of conditions that ensures local environmental protections while advancing a project that is poised to make a difference in an era of global climate crisis that is impacting New England’s shoreline and fisheries,” said Mr Stephens.
To date, Vineyard Wind has received permits or approvals from the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board, an independent state board responsible for reviewing proposed large energy facilities, Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act office, Cape Cod Commission, Barnstable Conservation Commission, Martha’s Vineyard Conservation Commission, and Nantucket Conservation Commission.
In April, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities approved long-term power purchase contracts between Vineyard Wind and Massachusetts’ electric distribution companies for the green electricity from the windfarm. Vineyard Wind has also entered into a Host Community Agreement with the Town of Barnstable, and a Community Benefits Agreement with the non-profit energy co-operative Vineyard Power, which serves Martha’s Vineyard. Fishing representatives for the project include the New Bedford Port Authority, the Massachusetts Lobsterman’s Association, and the Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust.