BARNSTABLE -- Opponents of a plan to build the nation's first offshore wind farm have filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state's approval of an environmental report submitted by the project's developers.
Cape Wind Associates wants to build 130 windmills across 25 miles of federal waters in Nantucket Sound. The turbines would rise up to 440 feet above sea level when the longest blades are pointing straight up.
Ian Bowles, the state's secretary of energy and environmental affairs, on March 30 approved an environmental impact report, saying the project complies with state environmental laws.
But on Friday, opponents of the project filed suit in Barnstable Superior Court, arguing that Bowles' decision should be reversed because Bowles' responsibility is to protect Cape Cod's waters, according to a report yesterday in The Cape Cod Times.
John Spillane, a lawyer representing the boaters and property owners who sued, said he hopes the complaint will stop state and local permitting for the project.
"I'm inclined to think this suit will put a chill in the process," he told the newspaper.
Supporters say the project is a safe, clean way to create renewable energy and jobs.
Opponents say the wind farm would harm Cape Cod's tourist and fishing industries, and argue the turbines would pose navigational and radar hazards, as well a threat to birds.
The turbines also have brought complaints that they could hurt the views of some multimillion-dollar oceanfront homes.
The project still needs to clear federal regulatory hurdles before moving forward. Cape Wind officials said they don't expect the lawsuit to delay permits.