Last week, homeowners in East Hampton, New York filed a combined opposition to the federal defendants’ motion to dismiss and South Fork Wind, LLC’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in an environmental dispute over an offshore wind farm project.
According to the complaint, the plaintiffs are long-time residents who initiated the litigation to challenge the South Fork Wind Farm project of the eastern point of Long Island. They argue that the onshore portion of the project, which connects the wind mills to the local power grid, will cause serious environmental problems. Specifically, the trenching required to install the high voltage cable will intersect with groundwater that is contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), per the plaintiffs.
The suit was filed in March against the Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Department of the Army and the Army Corps of Engineers, known as the Federal Defendants,. alleging violations of the National Environmental Policy Act, Administrative Procedures Act, the Clean Water Act and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. Soon after the suit’s filing, the court granted South Fork Wind, LLC’s, the developer of the wind farm, motion to intervene as a defendant.
Last week, South Fork Wind filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings arguing that the plaintiffs failed to adequately plead standing and to state a claim. The motion further alleges that the onshore portion of the project that the plaintiffs challenge is exclusively within the jurisdiction of New York State and the town of East Hampton.
Similarly, the Federal Defendants filed a motion to dismiss for lack of standing and failure to state a claim. In the motion, the Federal Defendants argue that the plaintiffs failed to allege an injury-in-fact to satisfy standing before the court.
The plaintiffs responded by filing a combined opposition to both motions. The plaintiffs argue that the construction will exacerbate contamination of their properties with cancer-causing PFAS, which satisfies as an injury-in-fact. Further, the plaintiffs argue that, although New York and the town of East Hampton have jurisdiction over the onshore trenching, the Federal Defendants failed to analyze the effect of the whole project, including the onshore portion, as required under National Environmental Policy Act, Administrative Procedures Act, the Clean Water Act and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
Both parties have also requested oral argument. The plaintiffs are represented by Hicks Thomas LLP, and South Fork Wind is represented by Latham & Watkins LLP.