Cape Wind Opponents Continue Fight to End Lease

BARNSTABLE – Opponents of a planned wind energy project in Nantucket Sound that has been stalled for years are continuing to seek support in an effort to terminate the federal lease.

The President and CEO of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound Audra Parker said opponents of Cape Wind, a project to construct 130 offshore wind turbines, must stay vigilant.

“Nantucket Sound is still vulnerable until that lease is vacated,” Parker said.

The lease for the 130 wind turbine project was issued by the Department of the Interior in 2010 and is valid until 2041.

As long as the lease is valid, Cape Wind can continue to push for construction or transfer the lease to another developer.

The project recently showed signs of life after an annual lease payment of $88,000 was paid in December. Cape Wind also argued in court that it still plans to move forward.

Cape Wind has been plagued by legal challenges, financial backing problems and the loss of power contracts and permitting.

Parker said the alliance will require continued financial support to keep up the fight.

“It’s been a very long and expensive fight and we still are moving forward with legal work, lobbying, regulatory work and advocacy – so we are always looking for donations,” Parker said.

The Alliance, the town of Barnstable and other plaintiffs had a victory in court against the project last July when an appeals court overruled a lower court ruling vacating key environmental reviews by the Department of the Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Parker said the Environmental Impact Statement was the foundation for the lease being awarded.

A new federal environment review is being conducted.

“There will likely be public comments on that sometime in the spring and everyone will have an opportunity to participate again,” Parker said.

According to Parker, when the review is completed a decision will be made to reinstate Cape Wind’s lease of rescind it.

“Obviously, we are going to work towards the latter,” Parker said.

The Alliance argues that the project is irresponsibly sited.

“The center of Nantucket Sound has way too many conflicts to navigational safety, aviation safety, environmental impacts, impacts to fisheries, tribal impacts, historic impacts,” Parker said. “There’s a number of locations that are much less conflicted than Nantucket Sound.”

Parker said the Alliance isn’t against green energy.

“It’s a matter of siting these massive projects responsibly so that we don’t have the types of impacts we would have and the types of problems we would have in Nantucket Sound,” Parker said.

To contact the Alliance visit saveoursound.org or call 508-775-9767.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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