Federal judge tosses lawsuit over Oakfield Wind project in Maine

A federal judge on Feb. 23, ruling on summary judgment, threw out an October 2013 lawsuit filed by environmental groups over U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permitting for a 148-MW wind project in Maine.

This case, which had been filed at the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine, surrounds the construction of a large wind farm in Aroostook and Penobscot counties called the Oakfield Project. Before building the project, Evergreen Wind Power II LLC and Maine Genlead LLC applied at the Corps for a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit for the project. In May 2013, the Corps granted the permit, authorizing the companies to permanently and temporarily fill certain wetlands and streams during construction of the Oakfield Project.

The plaintiffs in this action, including Protect Our Lakes and the Forest Ecology Network, filed the lawsuit in October 2013, claiming that the Corps violated environmental standards in issuing the Section 404 permit. The judge on all counts ruled for summary judgment from the Corps, saying it followed the law in issuing this permit.

First Wind announced in September 2014 the construction of the 148-MW Oakfield Wind project. “First Wind is excited to be building the Oakfield Wind project, which is not only our sixth project in Maine, but what will be our largest project to bring clean, cost-competitive renewable energy to New England,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind, at the time. “The Oakfield project has been something we’ve wanted to build for almost a decade, and we’re thrilled to say that it will be finished by the end of next year.”

This power is contracted to be sold to four Massachusetts utilities as part of a 15-year contract. Situated about 2.5 miles from the center of the town of Oakfield, the Oakfield Wind project is being constructed on the low-lying ridges of the Oakfield Hills.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.