County Fights The State On Territorial Sea Plan

By Kiera Morgan

County Council Wayne Belmont gave a report to the board of commissioners on Wednesday about the filing of an Amicus Brief in regards to litigation regarding the Territorial Sea Plan (TSP). There were issues with the process that the state used in allowing renewable energy facilities in the area of the ocean within 3 miles from shore. David Allen represented his clients and is also a member of the Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC). The appeal is about the decision made by the Department of Land Conservation and Development Commission made in 2013.

This was in regards to the amendment of the TSP regarding renewable energy facilities in state waters. There were many who were upset that after years of meetings and research the information and recommendations the commission went with a staff recommendation instead. The argument made by Allen is that the agency should have gone with OPAC’s recommendation. “Our goal is to have the court invalidate the decision by the commission and send it back down to the commission for either two things; adopt the OPAC recommendation or send it back to OPAC for further review and revision.”

Mr. Allen said OPAC did a very thorough process however it was not what the state agencies and what the Governor’s office at the time wanted. He said this challenge shows that if you divert from what coastal communities want it will be challenged. OPAC’s recommendation was one that was approved by coastal counties. ┬áIt was pointed out that it may be over a year before a final decision is made.

photo by Casey Miller