State and local permitting agencies have enough information to begin action on Cape Wind’s Nantucket Sound wind farm proposal, state Secretary of Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles ruled yesterday.
In issuing a certificate of adequacy for the 130-turbine project planned for Horseshoe Shoal ““ and not requiring a supplemental filing as requested by the Cape Cod Commission and others ““ Bowles wrote that the Final Environmental Impact Report “presents a complete and definitive description and analysis of the jurisdictional portions of the project and its alternatives, and contains an assessment of potential environmental impacts and mitigation measures to enable state permitting agencies to understand the environmental consequences of their decisions.”
The “jurisdictional portions” include state waters up to the three-mile limit, beyond which Cape Wind plans to build its turbines.
In his decision, available at the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Web site (http://www.mass.gov/envir/mepa/) Bowles wrote that he’s satisfied that questions about the remainder of the project will be answered during the upcoming “comprehensive federal NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) review.”
That review, he wrote, will “provide a forum for continuing public input into the non-(state)jurisdictional aspects of the project, and appropriately resolve any lingering issues over the level and adequacy of data provided.”
Bowles noted that the state’s Coastal Zone Management unit, which is charged with determining whether activities in nearby federal waters are consistent with the state’s “enforceable policies,” found that the FEIR was “generally adequate” given that “information gaps and issues that need to be resolved” would be addressed via federal review prior to CZM’s determination.
CZM joined Bowles in not recommending a supplemental EIR.
The certificate carries a pull-in-your-horns message to the Cape Cod Commission in the following passage: “Because MEPA is the product of state law, not federal law, MEPA review (and by extension Cape Cod Commission review) applies only to those portions of the project that are located within Massachusetts, including the territorial waters.”
The Commission now has 45 days in which to open a public hearing on the project.
Cape Wind as well as opponents of the project planned to hold press conferences later today.
30 March 2007
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