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Cape Wind agrees to extend review

A regional agency’s decision on the Cape Wind Associates proposal to build 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound will come later than expected.

Yesterday at a Cape Cod Commission subcommittee meeting, Cape Wind officials agreed to allow the regional planning and regulatory agency two more weeks to reach a decision on the project.

The extension gives the commission until Oct. 21 to make a determination on the project.

Also announced at the meeting, according to Cape Wind spokesman Mark Rodgers, was a delay in the release of an environmental impact statement by the federal Department of Interior’s Minerals Management Service.

The federal report was due by the end of September, but it will not be released until sometime in October or November, Rodgers said. “We’d like it out as soon as possible,” he said.

Cape Wind Associate’s proposal to build the turbines on 25 square miles of Horseshoe Shoal and lay transmission lines to connect the facility into the electrical grid has been under review by several local, state and federal agencies since 2001.

Last week, Cape Cod Commission staff submitted a report to the subcommittee that pinpointed 19 areas where consistency with commission minimum performance standards could not be determined because of a lack of information in Cape Wind’s application for the project. The project’s application met the standards in eight categories and failed in six categories, according to the commission staff report.

In a public hearing Monday, Cape Wind opponents pushed for the commission to exert jurisdiction over the entire project and deny it.

During yesterday’s meeting, Cape Wind officials agreed to supply some of the missing information in the next few days, Rodgers said.

Another meeting of the subcommittee reviewing the project is planned for Sept. 20.

“Certainly, the staff report was requiring Cape Wind to provide them with additional information,” said Barbara Hill, executive director of Clean Power Now, a nonprofit group that supports the Cape Wind project.

But Cape Wind’s willingness to extend review of the project was a show of good faith, Hill said.

The commission began its official consideration of Cape Wind’s proposal on March 29, when state environmental officials signed off on the project.

By Patrick Cassidy

Cape Cod Times

12 September 2007