Feds Rush to Issue Cape Wind Report at 11th Hour

January 15, 2009

Cape Wind Faces Permit Hurdles, IG Investigation, and Legal Battles Ahead

HYANNIS, Mass., Jan. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — As reported in today’s Federal Register, the federal Minerals Management Service (MMS) is expected to issue a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) tomorrow for the 25 square mile Cape Wind industrial project proposed for just off the beaches of Nantucket Sound. MMS has apparently yielded to political pressure to issue a premature final report on Cape Wind before the end of the Bush Administration.

According to media reports, the Department of Interior’s Inspector General is investigating potential misconduct in MMS’ review of Cape Wind. Among other topics, the Inspector General is examining the reassignment of a Fish and Wildlife biologist who scrutinized the adequacy of Cape Wind bird studies, the unavailability of the GE 3.6 MW turbine specified in Cape Wind’s application, and Cape Wind project economics.

While likely favorable for Cape Wind, the imminent FEIS is not the federal approval of the project. MMS’ final Record of Decision (ROD), which is designed to incorporate public feedback, is expected at least 30 days after the FEIS. The ROD is but one of approximately twenty federal, state, and local permits and authorizations that Cape Wind must secure to begin construction. Cape Wind has already received one permit denial from the Cape Cod Commission.

MMS appears ready to release the Cape Wind FEIS without final regulations in place for offshore renewable energy projects and without the resolution of several critical issues. The massive Cape Wind project is proposed for the center of the heavily used water and air routes of Nantucket Sound and, in a recent study, the United States Coast Guard has shown that Cape Wind turbines would interfere with navigational radar. The Federal Aviation Administration has the project under a “presumed hazard” determination for an ATC radar investigation and other potential issues that threaten local flights. MMS itself has acknowledged that Cape Wind would present an adverse visual effect on 29 historic sites and Tribal ceremonial grounds.

Given potential MMS process violations now under review by the Department of Interior’s Inspector General, the Alliance has launched a Legal Defense Fund to continue the fight to protect the public interests of Cape and Islands communities and ensure that Nantucket Sound is not industrialized.

    Audra Parker, Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound COO/Executive Director
    (508) 280-9082 / (508) 775-9767

SOURCE Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound

Source: newswire

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