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In Federal Lawsuit, Nantucket Residents Say Offshore Wind Will Harm Endangered Whales

Matt Young

Some Nantucket residents and a prominent conservative lawyer are suing the federal government over its approval of the offshore wind farm Vineyard Wind. The lawsuit contends the project off Martha's Vineyard will harm critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whales.

Mary Chalke lives on Nantucket and worries the construction of offshore wind turbines will push the whales to their breaking point. And she thinks the government failed to truly assess the project's impacts.

“They say the years of construction will not jeopardize the species. Can you think of a worse place to put the first in the nation wind power plants?" Chalke said.

A pro-wind environmental group calls the lawsuit "frivolous" and the federal review process "thorough."

Vineyard Wind declined to comment, but has said it's limiting offshore construction to times of the year when the whales are less likely to be in the area.

Scientists said the whales are threatened primarily by climate change, fishing gear and boat strikes.

The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is not commenting on the suit. Earlier this year, it determined the noise generated by the project's construction could create "minimal" and "temporary" stress for some whales.

Copyright 2021 WSHU

Miriam Wasser / WBUR