A Cape Cod Commission subcommittee recommended denial of the Cape Wind Energy Project on procedural grounds Monday.
Subcommittee members agreed unanimously that the company had failed to provide sufficient information on which they could decide whether the Nantucket Sound project meets minimum performance standards of the county’s Regional Policy Plan.
Cape Wind representatives replied that all the necessary information can be found in the draft and final Environmental Impact Reports submitted to the state, or in recent responses to subcommittee requests.
Asked by the subcommittee whether a further extension would be possible, Craig Olmstead, Cape Wind’s vice president for project development, read a statement that the company didn’t “see any point in prolonging the process when by all standards the record is complete and process can and should move forward. With all due respect, we do not feel that it is fair or necessary to extend the review for this DRI (Development of Regional Impact) project.”
As members began their vote, Charles McLaughlin, assistant town attorney for Barnstable, asked to speak and made an impassioned plea for a vote on the merits of the project. Noting that the town is taking the Massachusetts environmental affairs office to court over its decision to let the state permitting process go forward, McLaughlin said a project denial with a complete and substantial record of the reasons for that action would carry great weight in the state courts.
Hyannis attorney Pat Butler, representing the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, advised that a procedural denial accompanied by findings would be sufficient.
The subcommittee will meet Oct. 4 to review the draft recommendation prepared by the staff. The full Commission could review the recommendation that day, if its regular meeting is not cancelled, or on Oct. 18.
A procedural denial without prejudice would allow Cape Wind to resubmit its proposal in short order. The company’s other alternative is to seek relief in Barnstable Superior Court and, eventually, the state’s Supreme Judicial Court.
“What we saw today was Cape Wind’s refusal to cooperate in providing necessary information and failure to grant an extension necessarily led to procedural denial by the Cape Cod Commission,” Audra Parker, director of strategic planning for the Alliance, said after the meeting.
By Edward F. Maroney
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