Impact on Landscape and Massachusetts
With less than one month before Massachusetts environmental officials are expected to sign off on the draft Ocean Management Plan, Vineyard critics were buoyed recently by a letter from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to the state. FWS said the plan lacks an analysis of alternative wind energy areas in federal waters and does not fully address the risks to protected migratory bird species.
The proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm will either make history or destroy it, according to speakers at what could be the last public hearing on the project.
Barring a lawsuit sending the project back for more review, yesterday's hearing at Cape Cod Community College's Tilden Arts Center marked the final opportunity for opponents and supporters to be heard on the plan by Cape Wind Associates LLC.
A federal panel charged with assessing Cape Wind's impact on dozens of historic sites includes an architect, an anthropologist and a Texan who runs one of the nation's largest beer distributors.
Last week, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation identified a five-member Cape Wind review panel, as a final federal ruling on the controversial offshore wind farm appears on the horizon.
When the National Park Service declared the 560-square-mile Nantucket Sound eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, all the federal protections of actually being on the list became effective.
Yet, as it turns out, these protections have little bearing on existing commercial and recreational activities in Nantucket Sound.
The fate of what would be the nation's first offshore wind farm is calling attention to the political obstacles facing renewable power, despite President-elect Barack Obama's determination to greatly expand its use.
The project, called Cape Wind, is a Boston firm's plan to build 130 windmills across 25 square miles of federal waters off Cape Cod. ...A spokesman for the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound says the group sees "lots of room to protest" the government review.
Developers of a $45 million, 30-megawatt wind farm are free to move ahead with construction following a ruling in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday in favor of the project's wetland permit. ..."We are obviously disappointed, but the court has made its final decision," said Eleanor Tillinghast, executive director of Green Berkshires.
While Massachusetts Gov. Deval L. Patrick continues to push for more renewable energy and conservation efforts, a plan to build 20 wind turbines in Florida and Monroe is stymied by a protracted legal challenge from environmentalists. ..."We want to be sure that the state's environmental regulations are properly enforced," said John C. Bartenstein, the attorney representing neighboring opponents and another organization, Green Berkshires.
In a new setback for a controversial wind farm proposed off Cape Cod, the National Park Service announced Monday that Nantucket Sound was eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, guaranteeing further delays for the project. ...The park service decision came in response to a request from two Massachusetts Indian tribes, who said the 130 proposed wind turbines would thwart their spiritual ritual of greeting the sunrise, which requires unobstructed views across the sound, and disturb ancestral burial grounds.