The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound and the Town of Barnstable, which owns the Barnstable Municipal Airport located on Cape Cod, will appear today before the United States Court of Appeals to appeal a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) decision that ignores the significant hazards to air travel in Nantucket Sound created by Cape Wind’s proposed 130 turbines.
At 440 feet tall and covering an area the size of Manhattan, the turbines would severely hamper aviation and endanger passenger safety.
“Cape Wind puts profits before public safety,” said Audra Parker, president and CEO of The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. “The FAA has failed to take into account substantial evidence indicating the enormous safety risks to pilots and passengers in the 400,000 flights per year that fly over Nantucket Sound.”
The appeal states that the FAA acted in an “arbitrary and capricious manner” by ignoring evidence submitted demonstrating that the wind turbines would in fact create a hazard to aviation and cause interfere with radar facilities used by air traffic control, failing to consider the cumulative effects of the turbines in Nantucket Sound, and exceeding its own authority.
“Our first responsibility is to the safety of our residents and visitors,” said Charlie McLaughlin, assistant Barnstable town attorney. “Airspace over Nantucket Sound is unique due to its heavy volume of low altitude flights concentrated in the summer season and in an area of frequent fog and rapidly changing weather. As a result this project poses a hazard to passenger safety and the economic health of the region.”
The FAA ruling poses an inherent safety risk by placing a large industrial facility in the middle of frequently used airspace, forcing flights to significantly alter their regular course and altitude, requiring changes to existing flight patterns, limiting the capacity and efficiency of nearby airports, and interfering with the operation of existing FAA radar facilities.
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