Wind farm appeal: court asks parties to prove standing

Mon, 02/28/2011 - 5:00am

2/28/11 — The state Supreme Court has ordered Conservation Law Foundation and industrial concerns Toray Plastics and Polytop Inc. to submit briefs to establish their standing as aggrieved parties in the Block Island wind farm appeal.

The order comes after new state Attorney General Peter Kilmartin recently pulled out of the appeal, which his predecessor, Patrick Lynch, had initiated with CLF and the other two appellants. Kilmartin, a longtime member of the General Assembly, supports the wind farm, proposed for within three miles of Block Island, and agrees it will be an economic plus for the state.

According to the court, Kilmartin’s “departure from the field has focused the Court’s attention on the issue of the standing of the remaining petitioners, each purportedly aggrieved parties….”

CLF, though a proponent of offshore wind energy, is challenging the process that led to the wind farm’s approval, arguing that the General Assembly essentially tailored legislation for the benefit of one company.

Toray and Polytop say that the wind farm’s contracted electricity price — no higher than 24.4 cents per kilowatt-hour in the first year, rising 3.5 percent annually over 20 years — would force them to pay millions of dollars extra in electricity bills over the course of the contract.

The petitioners’ briefs are due March 10. If they satisfy the court, then oral arguments will be scheduled for May.

Goldberg will take part

According to published reports, state Supreme Court Justice Maureen Mckenna Goldberg will not recuse herself from any proceedings involving Deepwater Wind, developer of the Block Island wind farm, though her husband, Robert Goldberg, worked for the company as a lobbyist.

Robert Goldberg assisted the company during the General Assembly’s effort to write legislation covering renewable energy contracts. He last worked for Deepwater in 2009.

Justice Goldberg did recuse herself when the Champlin’s Marina matter came before the court. Her husband continues to represent the marina in its expansion effort.