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State agrees to hand over Cape Wind-related e-mail

BARNSTABLE – The state has agreed to turn over hundreds of e-mails related to a deal between National Grid and Cape Wind in response to a public records request by the wind power project’s primary opponent.

During a hearing Friday before Barnstable Superior Court Judge Christopher Muse, state Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Salinger said the state would provide the e-mails from the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs by Dec. 10. State officials will also produce another copy of a computer disc with 300 e-mails that had previously been given to the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, the main opposition group to Cape Wind. The original disc could not be read, according to the Alliance’s attorney, David Lawler of Hyannis.

“I’m not going to turn it into an order as I’ve heard representations that it will be done,” Muse said of the state’s promise. “I think an order will be superfluous.”

The Alliance has been seeking documents related to the agreement between Cape Wind and National Grid since April. The state Department of Public Utilities is expected to rule any day on whether the deal between Cape Wind and the utility company is cost effective.

While the state has turned over some e-mails in response to the public records request, the Alliance was unsatisfied and sued Gov. Deval Patrick and other state officials in October to force them to turn over more records.

The state will not be required to reveal a pseudonym Patrick uses in e-mail that was redacted from documents already turned over to the Alliance, according to the agreement reached Friday.

Any parts of e-mails that state officials deem privileged, non-responsive or otherwise exempt under the public records law will be withheld or redacted with an explanation for why the information is not being produced.

“You got something in the win column,” Muse told each attorney. “Win, not wind.”

Lawler withdrew a motion to have the state reopen an administrative review of the public records request that he may resubmit at a future date.