WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - December 15, 2016) - (Fisheries Survival Fund) - Last week, a group of fisheries organizations, communities and businesses filed suit against the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), seeking a temporary restraining order to delay today's auction of leasing rights to the proposed New York Wind Energy Area. The suit also sought a preliminary injunction to prevent BOEM from executing any resulting wind energy lease.
The plaintiffs allege that BOEM did not adequately consider the effect on the region's fishermen of a 127-square-mile wind farm off the coast of New York and New Jersey.
Subsequently, a scheduling agreement was reached between the parties that allows the court to take adequate time to deliberate carefully on the case's important issues. The plaintiffs agreed to withdraw their motion for a temporary restraining order that would have delayed the scheduled auction. Although the auction is proceeding today, under BOEM's final sale notice for the auction, the lease will not be final until further steps, as outlined in the sale notice, are completed.
On Monday, Judge Tanya Chutkan of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia set a court schedule on the plaintiffs' motion to preliminarily enjoin BOEM's execution of any lease resulting from today's auction. The schedule concludes with a hearing in Federal court on February 8.
Under Judge Chutkan's order, if the lease is ready to be executed before the court is able to rule on the plaintiffs' preliminary injunction motion, BOEM must provide the court no less than 14 days notice. If that notice is provided, the preliminary injunction proceedings will be expedited.
The Fisheries Survival Fund, representing the majority of the U.S. Atlantic scallop industry, is the lead plaintiff in the case. The lease area includes documented scallop and squid fishing grounds, which serve as essential fish habitat and grounds for other commercially important species, including black sea bass and summer flounder. It is also an important foraging area for threatened loggerhead sea turtles and critically endangered North Atlantic right whales.
Other organizations joining as plaintiffs include the Garden State Seafood Association and the Fishermen's Dock Co-Operative in New Jersey; the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association in New York; and the Narragansett Chamber of Commerce and Rhode Island Fishermen's Alliance.
Joining as plaintiffs are the City of New Bedford, Mass.; the Borough of Barnegat Light, N.J.; and the Town of Narragansett, R.I.
Also joining are three fishing businesses: SeaFreeze Shoreside, Sea Fresh USA and The Town Dock.