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Unexpected boosts for Commission review  

The Cape Cod Commission isn’t the only entity that thinks it should review the entire Cape Wind project, not just the portions on land and in state waters.

In a report by Elizabeth White aired this week on WCAI/WNAN FM, Barbara Hill, the executive director of Clean Power Now (which supports construction of the 130-turbine project in Nantucket Sound) said she would not object to the agency performing a full review as long as it did not delay a decision.

White spoke also with Rodney Cluck, who is overseeing the federal review of the energy project for the Minerals Management Service. Asked what the government would do if the Commission found the detriments of the project outweighed its benefits, he said MMS would work with the agency and the state to mitigate such concerns. “But again,” he told White, “if there were no place to actually put this electricity into, then there’d be no reason to develop the project.”

Cape Wind, which argues that the Commission’s review powers do not extend into federal waters, is continuing its review of the Commission’s May 31 decision on the scope of its purview, and has made no public comment on the particulars.

The Patriot’s story on the Commission’s meeting and vote appeared in the June 1 issue. White’s report can be read at www.wgbh.org/cainan/

What’s in the Commission’s letter

In a June 8 letter, the Cape Cod Commission informs Cape Wind Associates, LLC, that its Development of Regional Impact application is incomplete.

Based on decisions made by the full Commission after taking public comment and hearing the recommendations of its outside counsel, the letter states that the application falls short because it “does not provide the requisite proof of ownership, proprietary interest or right to occupy” land locations for its underwater/underground cable.

Also absent is an “accurate abutters list,” an analysis of the project’s consistency with the 2002 Regional Policy Plan, and data on employment opportunities as well as impacts on “local government fiscal flow (revenues less operating expenditures and annualized capital expenditures).”

No “substantive” public hearing can be scheduled until this information is received, according to the Commission’s letter, which states further that the “regulatory time-clock” for the project requires that the hearing period be closed by Aug. 8 unless there’s mutual agreement for an extension.

The letter, signed by Commission planner Phil Dascombe, says the agency cannot make a DRI decision until the state Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program makes a determination on the project’s application to that agency. Also, it notes that the state has yet to rule whether the jet-plowing installation of the turbine poles constitutes dredging, “or if the project is a water-dependent, or non-water dependent use.”

Cape Wind, which has argued that the Commission’s scope of review is much more limited than the agency believes, is continuing to review the Commission’s action.

A miss as good as a mile?

There was something for both sides of the wind farm controversy in a recent report by the federal Department of Defense on the possible effects of the Cape Wind energy turbine project on the PAVE PAWS early warning radar system at Otis Air Force Base on the Upper Cape.

Supporters of the proposed 130-turbine complex on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound stressed the report’s declaration that keeping the turbines outside a line-of-sight offset zone of 25 kilometers would address concerns about refraction of signals from the radar array.

Opponents pointed to statements that objects in the path of electromagnetic waves may block, reflect or diffract them, affecting signal strength. They argued that the 27.3 kilometer distance from PAVE PAWS to the wind farm is too close for comfort.


22 June 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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