Posts in Off Shore Wind.
BOEM and NOAA Fisheries Announce Final North Atlantic Right Whale and Offshore Wind Strategy

On January 25, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries released a final North Atlantic Right Whale and Offshore Wind Strategy (the “Strategy”). The Strategy expresses the agencies’ joint goal of protecting and promoting the recovery of the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) while responsibly developing offshore wind energy.

The North Atlantic right whale (NARW) population has declined significantly over the past decade. Population estimates through December 2022 indicate ...

Fish and Wildlife Service Increases Civil Penalties for Violations of Federal Wildlife Protection Laws

On February 2, 2024, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a final rule increasing civil monetary penalties for violations of several federal wildlife and natural resource protection laws (Final Rule).  The Final Rule updates penalties for violations of the Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, Lacey Act, and other statutes concerning federally protected animal species.

Under section 4 of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, 28 U.S.C. 2461, as amended by the Inflation Adjustment ...

Advocacy Groups Threaten Endangered Species Act Lawsuit Against Virginia Offshore Wind Project

On November 13, two advocacy organizations submitted a notice of intent to sue the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). The notice letter alleges that the September 18, 2023 Biological Opinion (BiOp) issued by NMFS for the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project violates the Endangered Species Act (ESA) because it fails to adequately analyze and mitigate the project's impacts on the endangered North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis). … 

Federal Court Dismisses Fishing Industry Challenge to Massachusetts Offshore Wind Project

On Thursday, October 12, 2023, Judge Indira Talwani of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts granted summary judgment in favor of the United States Department of the Interior and Vineyard Wind, and denied summary judgment to the plaintiffs in two cases challenging federal authorizations for the Vineyard Wind project: Seafreeze Shoreside, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Interior (Seafreeze) and Responsible Offshore Development Alliance v. U.S. Department of Interior (RODA). In both cases, the plaintiffs sought to overturn the federal approvals for the ...

Massachusetts Court Rejects Marine Mammal Protection Act Challenge to Vineyard Wind Project

On Friday, August 4, 2023, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts granted summary judgment in favor of the National Marine Fisheries Service (“NMFS”) in the case of Melone v. Coit et al, 21-cv-11171 (Talwani, J.). The Court found that NMFS complied with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (“MMPA”) in authorizing construction of the Vineyard Wind project despite its impacts on the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis), which is protected under the MMPA and the Endangered Species Act. … 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to Release Plans for Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) anticipates releasing the Draft Designation Documents for the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary.

A draft proposed rule and management plan for the sanctuary are expected to be released early this summer, concurrently with the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed designation required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The draft management plan will describe the non-regulatory programmatic strategies and actions the new sanctuary will undertake for an ...

Services Propose New Regulatory Revisions Under the Endangered Species Act

On June 22, 2023, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (collectively, the Services), issued three sets of proposed revisions to their Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulations addressing: (1) interagency consultations under ESA section 7; (2) the procedures and criteria for listing, reclassifying, delisting, and designating critical habitat for species under ESA section 4; and (3) reinstatement of USFWS’s blanket ESA section 4(d) rule which, prior to its repeal in 2019, extended the take prohibitions of ESA section 9 to all ...

Massachusetts Court Refuses to Halt Construction of Offshore Wind Project

On May 25, 2023, the federal District Court for the District of Massachusetts denied a motion by plaintiffs seeking to halt construction of the Vineyard Wind project offshore of Massachusetts, in the case of Seafreeze Shoreside, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Interior, 22-cv-11091 (Talwani, J.). The summary judgment motions in the case are still pending, and the plaintiffs have appealed the decision denying their request for a preliminary injunction or stay under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

The plaintiffs in ...

Nossaman’s Endangered Species Law & Policy blog focuses on news, events, and policies affecting endangered species issues in California and throughout the United States. Topics include listing and critical habitat decisions, conservation and recovery planning, inter-agency consultation, and related developments in law, policy, and science. We also inform readers about regulatory and legislative developments, as well as key court decisions.

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