Massachusetts Governor Boosts Wind-Farm Opposition
Nov. 11Two days after a federal agency released an initial favorable review of a proposal for an offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound, Governor Mitt Romney stepped up his opposition to the plan in a visit with White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card.
The governor again called for a moratorium on such ocean development projects until a process can be drafted to govern how and where to build them, said spokeswoman Shawn Feddeman.
Cape Wind Associates plans to spend $770 million to erect 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound to generate electricity without creating pollution. The US Army Corps of Engineers is reviewing the project and on Monday released a positive draft report, suggesting it would have few harmful effects on the environment.
Romney and many residents of the Cape and islands have opposed the project, which they say will spoil a natural resource and turn over public land to a private, for-profit developer. They have seized on an April report by the US Commission on Ocean Policy that called for sweeping new federal regulations to govern development that many fear will encroach on the shoreline, unchecked.
Meanwhile, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, a group formed to block the project, formally requested yesterday that the Army Corps extend its 60-day public comment period for the project's Draft Environmental Impact Statement to 180 days. The alliance said the public deserves more time to analyze the nearly 4,000-page document and asked the corps to delay public hearings, set to begin in December, until after the holiday season.
"The comment period the corps has noticed is an insufficient amount of time to review a DEIS for a project of this magnitude, unprecedented nature, and degree of controversy," wrote alliance executive director Susan Nickerson.
Larry Rosenberg, chief of public affairs for the New England district of the Army Corps, said the alliance's request is the first and only one yet submitted.
"We agree that the public may indeed need additional time," he said, "but we need to make a total assessment and it's not just going to be based on one letter from a group that has taken a position against the process."
Cape Wind president Jim Gordon said the Army Corps has already extended the comment period from 45 to 60 days.
"Every day we defer the benefits of the Cape Wind project, it means we just add more pollutant emissions to the atmosphere, we import more foreign energy, and we delay the new jobs that will be created by this project," he said. "I am putting my faith in the fact that at the end of the day, the regulatory system will prevail and the project will either succeed or fail on its merits and not on politicizing it."
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