From: Sean Teehan, Cape Cod Times
Published August 21, 2012 07:36 AM

Cape Wind Gets Final Approval

Cape Wind cleared its last bureaucratic hurdle Wednesday when the Federal Aviation Administration released its finding that the project poses no hazard to planes.

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The finding came after a court-mandated re-evaluation of possible safety hazards the 130-turbine project poses to planes and a GOP inquiry into whether the FAA's initial approval in 2010 was the result of political pressure from the left.

"(The FAA's) aeronautical study revealed that the structure does not exceed obstruction standards and would not be a hazard to air navigation," the latest FAA determination reads.

The project presents no hazard as long as Cape Wind marks and lights obstructions to planes, files required construction forms with the FAA and builds no turbines exceeding 440 feet above ground level, the decision reads.

"It's a big step forward for Cape Wind from a regulatory standpoint," said Mark Rodgers, a Cape Wind spokesman, in an interview Wednesday evening. In light of the FAA study, Cape Wind plans to begin construction next year, Rodgers said.

But the study's release left some Cape Wind opponents frustrated and more convinced than ever that politics swayed the FAA's finding.

"It's outrageous in light of a court overturning their previous (finding) and a congressional inquiry," said Audra Parker, president of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, a group that lobbies against the project and filed several lawsuits in efforts to stop construction. "The FAA is willing to sacrifice public safety."

The FAA approved the project in May 2010. But after the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound and the town of Barnstable appealed the decision, the United States Court of Appeals sent the project back to the agency in October 2011 for more review. In its decision, the court found the FAA had overlooked its own rules in making its determination.

Image credit Cape Cod Times.

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