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Cape Wind makes its case for comprehensive permit  

You’ve already approved the relevant portion of our project, and you’ve already overridden the Cape Cod Commission on a similar enterprise, Cape Wind tells the state Energy Facilities Siting Board in its application for a comprehensive permit filed Dec. 28.Cape Wind wants a Certificate of Environmental Impact and Public Interest from the board because the Cape Cod Commission’s October “rejection” of its application for Development of Regional Impact approval has left it “unable to pursue its permitting efforts for the jurisdictional transmission lines as approved by the siting board.”

The Commission issued a procedural denial without prejudice, citing insufficient information submitted. Cape Wind, in effect, says it’s given the agency everything but its shirt and shoe sizes.

“Despite calling its denial ‘procedural,’ there are several substantive issues that formed the basis for the Commission’s decision,” Cape Wind’s filing states, pointing to determinations that the proposed transition vault where the power lines come ashore in Yarmouth is not a water-dependent use and that the vault is in a FEMA velocity zone.

Also, Cape Wind alleges, the Commission “squandered three to four months” of its review process following state certification of the final Environmental Impact Review. The Commission used that time to determine the scope of its review and vote on issues such as which version of the county Regional Policy Plan would be used.

The relief sought would amount to granting DRI approval as well as seven other state and local permits that cannot go forward until the Commission’s review reaches resolution. These approvals would be conditioned on Cape Wind acquiring the relevant federal permits for the portion of the project outside state waters.

Cape Wind’s filing calls the siting board “the preeminent state agency in Massachusetts charged by the Legislature with overseeing and permitting the siting, construction, and operation of jurisdictional energy facilities.” The counter-argument is that the Cape Cod Commission, created by the Legislature years after the EFSB, allows only two routes for appeal: Barnstable Superior Court and the state Land Court. EFSB decisions may be appealed to the state Supreme Judicial Court.

In 2005, the EFSB found the state portion of the project was needed for the operation of the wind farm, qualified as “least cost,” and would “appropriately minimize environmental impacts.” In another decision, it overturned a Commission denial of a Keyspan transmission line project.

EFSB will hold a hearing on Cape Wind’s request April 22 at 10 a.m. at South Station in Boston. The deadline for submitting written comments is Jan. 28. the address is Energy Facilities Siting Board, One South Station, Boston MA 02110.

By Edward F. Maroney
Associate Editor

The Barnstable Patriot

11 January 2008

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

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