Supporters and opponents of a proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm sparred yesterday over the extent of the Cape Cod Commission’s jurisdiction over the project.
In the coming months, the commission, the Cape’s regional planning organization, will be reviewing Cape Wind’s proposal to build 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound.
But the scope of that review is up for debate. Yesterday, the agency held a public meeting at Barnstable Town Hall to gather testimony on its proper role.
The turbines would be erected in federal waters. But the transmission cable would run through state waters, which extend 3 miles out from the shore, and would cross state-owned land as well.
The debate was whether the commission’s review should focus just on the impact of the cable that crosses state property and waters, or look at the project as a whole.
Wind farm opponents argued that the commission should interpret its jurisdiction broadly. Fishing and navigational concerns cross state and federal boundaries, they said.
And a spill from a planned 40,000-gallon oil tank, which would hold oil to cool the project’s transformers, would impact state lands, they argued.
“If you don’t take the broad view,” said Jaci Barton, executive director of the Barnstable Land Trust, “no one on Cape Cod will take the broad view.”
But David S. Rosenzweig, an attorney for Cape Wind Associates, the Boston-based company behind the proposal, said enabling legislation for the commission limits their jurisdiction to state land and waters only.
Barbara Hill, executive director of Clean Power Now, which supports the project, noted that Ian Bowles, Massachusetts’ environmental affairs secretary, said the Cape Cod Commission’s jurisdiction was limited when he signed off on the Cape Wind project’s environmental impact report in March, delivering a significant victory to supporters. In the wake of that decision, opponents are pushing the commission to become a local bulwark against the project.
The commission is expected to identify what it believes to be the scope of its jurisdiction at its next meeting, May 31. That interpretation could be subject to legal challenge by either side.
A critical federal review of the project is due at the end of the summer.
Cape Cod Times
18 May 2007
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding