Judge refuses to halt work on power line for Block Island Wind project

On May 16, a judge at the U.S. District Court for Rhode Island rejected Narragansett Indian Tribe requests for either a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction to halt work under a Clean Water Act permit issued by the Corps of Engineers for a transmission line for the 30-MW Block Island Wind Farm.

The May 13 lawsuit said the Corps violated a historic preservation law by failing to properly consult with the tribe about artifacts uncovered during project construction. The May 16 denials were from Judge John J. McConnell Jr.

The 2014 permit from the Corps is for the Block Island Transmission System (BITS), which involves 20 miles of underwater cable from the offshore wind project to Narragansett, Rhode Island. The permit is currently held by Narragansett Electric d/b/a National Grid.

The lawsuit said that on April 5 of this year, there was an unexpected archeological find during trenching work where the power cable is to come ashore. That triggered a flurry of communications between state, federal and tribal officials. On May 12, the Corps cleared National Grid to resume construction work in the subject area. The tribe’s lawsuit said work in this area must stay halted while the situation is assessed and a plan worked out to protect any historical finds.

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.