The Cape Cod Commission subcommittee reviewing Cape Wind’s proposed 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound voted unanimously Monday morning to recommend to the full Commission that the project be denied.
The subcommittee held extensive public hearings Sept. 6 and 10 and reviewed via a staff report both the electric transmission cables that will run from the shoreline to New Hampshire Avenue in West Yarmouth to the NSTAR switching station near Mary Dunn Pond in Barnstable, and the effect the entire project on the resources protected under the Cape Cod Commission Act.
The subcommittee will present all its reasoning and recommendation before the full commission on Oct. 18.
“We’re going to refrain from commenting until the full commission takes their vote next month,” said Cape Wind communications director Mark Rodgers.
The project’s prime opponents did have a response.
“It was clear there was not sufficient information, coupled with Cape Wind’s refusal to grant an extension, that led to the procedural denial,” said Audra Parker, director of strategic planning for the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. “Cape Wind has been the uncooperative developer; throughout the hearings they have tried to steamroll the local stakeholders. As one of the subcommittee members put it, Cape Wind has tried to put conditions on the Cape Cod Commission rather than the commission putting conditions on Cape Wind.”
The extension, which both Cape Wind and the subcommittee had to agree upon, would have given Cape Wind more time to answer questions the subcommittee had. Cape Wind has already agreed to one two-week extension. In a statement the alliance also said, “the material presented so far contained multiple inconsistencies and “gaps” in the analyses.
Cape Wind said in a statement that it had presented “complete and exhaustive” information to the subcommittee.
The commission staff report on the Cape Wind project found Cape Wind met the minimum performance standards in the Regional Policy Plan in eight cases, failed to meet them in six instances and that Cape Wind provided insufficient information or the staff was unable to make a determination in 16 categories.
Among the issues in contention is a final plan for handling hazardous wastes that could leak into wellhead protection areas during the trenching, backfilling and installation of the electric cables that will cross six miles of land on their way to the Barnstable Switching Station near Mary Dunn Road.
That portion of the project will involve the use of bentonite, oil, construction equipment and materials as well as landscaping the ditches. The subcommittee was seeking information on the types and quantities of hazardous materials, the methods used to minimize their use, how they’ll be managed and disposed of and an emergency response plan. The subcommittee felt that the draft emergency response plan was insufficient.
There were other issues including storm water management in wellhead zones; the lack of a monetary contribution to help assess and manage freshwater ponds that would be affected by the development the electric cables passes within 100 feet of Long Lake and Jabinettes Pond and the lack of permanently restricted open space which must be provided as an offset since 5.8 acres within the utility easement will be disturbed.
By Rich Eldred
GateHouse News Service
26 September 2007
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