When three leading environmental organizations seek to get involved in a federal court case about a proposed development project, it’s not usually on the side of the developer. But, this week, CLF, NRDC and Mass Audubon filed a motion to participate as “Friends of the Court” in support of the defendants in five pending federal cases challenging federal approvals of the Cape Wind offshore wind energy project. The plaintiffs, unsurprisingly including the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, are seeking to overturn the federal government’s 2010 approval of the landmark offshore wind project, the first to be approved in the United States.
Our federal court filing comes after more than a decade of exhaustive review undertaken by state and federal authorities, and by CLF and our colleagues in the environmental community – review that served to ensure Cape Wind’s approval was based on sound science and data, and that the project was thoroughly vetted through an open and transparent public process. Our support for the project reflects our findings that Cape Wind’s benefits far outweigh its impacts.
Between CLF, NRDC and Mass Audubon, we pack a couple hundred years of environmental advocacy and stewardship experience. Collectively, we represent hundreds of thousands of Americans, from nearby Hyannis to far-flung Hawaii, who believe our country should prioritize a true clean energy agenda and move more quickly to deliver on the environmental, public health, energy security and economic benefits of responsible renewable energy. Backing the developer in the Cape Wind case may, at first blush, go against the grain of environmental advocacy history. But in this case, it is fully consistent with our longstanding missions to protect natural resources and public health – here, by advancing a key project that will begin to unleash the tremendous potential of offshore renewable energy, allowing Massachusetts and the region to dial back polluting fossil fuel power generation.