This case arises following the approval of a lease by the U.S. Department of Interior to Cape Wind Associates for construction of an offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound. Under the lease, Cape Wind must obtain the Federal Aviation Administration’s (“FAA”) determination whether the turbines pose a hazard to air navigation and comply with any mitigation measures before beginning construction. In Town of Barnstable, Mass. v. FAA, 659 F.3d 28 (D.C. Cir. 2011) (“Barnstable I”), the court held that the “no hazard” determinations in 2010 for each of the wind turbines in a 25–square mile area of Nantucket Sound were “inadequately justified.” Id. at 31. Petitioners now challenge the no hazard determinations in 2012 as similarly deficient for failing to analyze the safety risks posed by the project and to perform an environmental review required by the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), 42 U.S.C. § 4332. The court denies the petitions for review regarding the 2012 FAA determinations due to changes in radar technology and new FAA studies and analysis.
Documents filed under Safety from Massachusetts
This revealing letter to the FAA documents a clear pattern of political pressure on the FAA to rush the review process of Cape Wind thus creating a possibility of threats to air safety and national security. A portion of the letter is provided below. The full letter can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.
On October 28, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals found the FAA failed to supply any apparent analysis of the record evidence concerning the wind farm’s potentially adverse effects on flight operations. The court vacated all 130 determinations of no hazard issued by the FAA. An excerpt of the court's ruling is provided below. The full order can be accessed by selecting the link(s) at the bottom of this page.
"Today, the task before the Joint Committee (regarding Bill S40) is to hear from the public on what would appear simple - the giving and taking of “driveway” easements between the Commonwealth’s Wachusett Reservation (Stagecoach Trail) and the Town of Princeton’s legal “right of way” for its wind power site. As well, the town is offering the to transfer to the Commonwealth, ownership of, five acres of their 16-acre wind site. I urge the Joint Committee for Bill S40 to carefully consider the following with regard to your recommendations an for easement exchange and accession of land from Princeton: 1. The Wachusett Wind Site is a 16 acre parcel wholly surrounded by the Wachusett Reservation and flanked within few feet, on three sides, by the well traveled Midstate, Harrington and Stagecoach trails. This portion of the state park is accessible and popular. 2. The present eight windmills are 120-feet high and are proposed to be replaced with two windmills as high as a 35- story building and with blades that stretch as wide as a football field - windmills whose elevation will come with 150- feet of the mountain’s elevation. 3. In the wintertime Wachusett experiences unusual ice storms in number and severity 4. In the wintertime, the windmills accumulate ice - then release it when it melts and falls, when it is blown off by wind or is thrown it off by the rotating blades 5. This ice has put holes in the roofs of utilty buildings on the wind farm and scattters itself across the fully accesssible wind site, the state reservation and hiking trails, threatening state park viisitors The risk associated with being struck windmill ice can be quantified and is relative to one’s distance from the windmills and will increase geometrically with the proposed windmills. 6. Windmills and wind data collection towers at Wachusett have structurally failed five times in twenty years on the Town of Princeton (PMLD) site. This also threatens the state park visitors as well with collapsing metal structures and flying blades. Proposed windmills and data towers will not be installed in compliance withthe manufacuturer’s recommendations and safety warnings."......