wind lawsuits

WINDS OF CHANGE: THREE COURTS HOLD WIND INDUSTRY RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMAGES

By Miriam Raftery

November 22, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – For years, wind developers operated with impunity, not held responsible for harm to people, wildlife or communities. But a trio of landmark court rulings this month indicate a shift, with judges holding wind developers liable for the first time for impacts on human health, protected birds, and rural character. 

In a landmark ruling today, a judge in Falmouth, Massachusetts ordered the town's three wind turbines shut off at night, on Sundays and on holidays to protect the health of residents.  ‘‘This is believed to be the first time that a court in the U.S. has ruled that there is sufficient evidence that wind turbines near residential areas are a health hazard to families living nearby,’’ said Virginia Irvine, president of Wind Wise Massachusetts..  The judge ruled that  operation of the turbines nonstop put residents at risk of ‘‘irreparable physical and psychological harm.”  Neighbors had complained of negative health impacts since the turbines were built.

Also this week, in the first-ever criminal prosecution of a wind company for illegal bird kills under the Migratory Treat Act,  Duke Energy Reneawbles Inc. pled guilty and was ordered to pay a million dollars. Duke's wind projects in Wyoming slaughtered 14 golden eagles and  149 other protected birds. See Department of Justice release on the fine.

 

LAWSUIT SEEKS INJUNCTION TO HALT TULE WIND PROJECT IN MCCAIN VALLEY

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 13, 2013 (Boulevard) – Iberdrola’s Tule Wind project has been slapped with a federal complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. The lawsuit was filed by two nonprofits in San Diego’s Rural East County, the Protect Our Communities Foundation and Backcountry Against Dumps.

If built, Tule Wind’s phase I would include 67 turbines on federal land, each nearly 500 feet tall in rugged McCain Valley, a federal wildlife management and popular  recreation area. Additional turbines are planned on adjoining state, tribal and private property. Turbines would be close to campgrounds and homes in rural Boulevard, a predominantly low income community in East County where numerous other massive-scale energy projects have already been proposed. (See map showing cumulative impacts.)

 “Eastern San Diego County is targeted as a rural sacrifice industrial energy and transmission zone without benefit of equal protection under the law,” said Donna Tisdale, also a plaintiff in the suit.