State Court Uses Technicalities To Dismiss Green Oceans Case Without Addressing Key Legal Issues

Green Oceans, a leading community-based, non-partisan not-for-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting the ocean, will appeal Friday’s Superior Court decision to dismiss its litigation against the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) and Revolution Wind, based on technicalities and without addressing the key legal issues.

Green Oceans’ substantive arguments allege procedural, civic, and environmental misconduct, claiming that the CRMC has been “derelict” in the enforcement of the state’s Ocean Special Area Management Plan (Ocean SAMP) by approving a project sited directly on Coxes Ledge, a NOAA-designated Habitat Area of Particular Concern.

“Today’s decision is a setback for the defense of our oceans and the marine ecosystems they sustain, and a betrayal of the residents of Rhode Island and our future generations. We are disappointed that our efforts to protect Coxes Ledge have not been judicially reviewed on the merits of our case,” said Bill Thompson, co-founder and vice president of Green Oceans. “We shall continue to hold the CRMC and the developers accountable for the economic and environmental impacts of offshore wind developments, and to ensure that they follow due process under the state’s environmental regulations. We will also continue to exercise our legal rights to protect our fellow citizens and the ocean we depend upon.”

Through the Ocean SAMP, the CRMC is obligated to preserve, protect, and when possible, restore the coastal resources of the state for this and succeeding generations, while also ensuring the preservation and restoration of ecological systems that may be impacted by development.

Although the Revolution Wind project is technically in federal waters, the project will occupy a region over which Rhode Island’s Ocean SAMP has jurisdiction. The project threatens to permanently alter the environmentally sensitive Coxes Ledge, one of the last remaining spawning grounds for Southern New England cod and an important habitat for the North Atlantic right whale and four other endangered whale species.

The suit also contributes to the public conversation regarding the potential of nearly 1,000 offshore wind turbines, each towering over 800 feet high, that will be built as close as 12.9 nautical miles from the Rhode Island coast. If completed, the nine offshore wind projects, planned for the waters off the coast of Rhode Island, would represent the largest offshore development anywhere in the world.

“Why are we sacrificing the ocean today without proof that the projects will help in the future? We owe it to future generations to make the state and federal agencies follow the law. This decision avoids responsibility for upholding the law by ducking behind a technicality,” said Thompson.

In January, Green Oceans also filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia focusing on the illegality of the permitting process for the Revolution Wind and South Fork Wind projects. That lawsuit intends to prove that the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as their leaders, violated a total of eight federal environmental statutes and related regulations when approving both projects.

Green Oceans is a nonprofit, non-partisan group of community members dedicated to combating climate change without jeopardizing biodiversity or the health of the ocean. For more information or to get involved, visit:




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