Following a public hearing yesterday, the Cape Cod Commission voted to recommend a new adjudicatory process for Development of Regional Impact reviews of energy-related facilities under the jurisdiction of the state Energy Facilities Siting Board.
Commission chair Bob Jones of Sandwich advised with a smile that he could save some “heartburn” for audience members by announcing that language making the changes applicable to the Cape Wind project would not be included.
Actually, he probably just shifted the upset from backers of the project to its opponents. The latter had hoped Commission action would have established a process that would satisfy the EFSB’s standards.
The state agency decided to override the Commission’s rejection of a power line application by Keypsan recently, noting that the land-use agency’s proceedings had not included testimony under oath or formal cross-examination.
Commission members agreed to send the new rules to their regulatory committee and will hold a public hearing when a final draft is prepared.
At yesterday’s meeting, Martin Aikens, business agent of the state International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, said members “have been waiting 6 1/2 years for the jobs this is going to create,” adding later, “Massachusetts needs Cape Wind, the U.S. needs Cape Wind, workers need Cape Wind, and all of us sitting here need Cape Wind.”
Although happy that the new rules would not apply to Cape Wind’s pending project, Aikens said he wasn’t comfortable with the Commission’s attempt to involve itself further with the siting board, which he said does “an excellent job.”
Barnstable assistant town attorney Charles McLaughlin and representive for the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound Pat Butler urged the Commission to assert its rights in any further dealings with the siting board.
“I do not agree that EFSB has the right to review your procedures or discussions,” McLaughlin said. “EFSB is grossly overextending its reach.”
Butler reminded the commissioners that their agency was also created by the state Legislature, and that they were empowered to go court and create jurisdiction.
24 August 2007
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