Controversial Offshore Wind Farm Approved

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U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has approved the nation’s first offshore wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, a $1 billion project that has survived nine years of regulatory review and a well-financed campaign to kill the plan.

The Cape Wind project will include construction of 130 wind turbines over a 24-square-mile area in the shallow waters of Nantucket Sound, an area within view of the tourist regions of Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard.

Salazar called the project a first step in the nation’s “clean energy revolution,” and vowed, “This will be the first of many projects up and down the Atlantic coast.”

Developers say the project will provide enough electricity to power 400,000 homes.

Approval of the project has stalled for years in the face of opposition on grounds that the project would pose a threat to wildlife, fishing boats, and the local tourism economy.

The latest challenge came from the local Wampanoag Indian tribes, who argued that the turbines would interfere with their view of the sunrise during traditional ceremonies and disturb ancestral landmarks.

Salazar ordered changes that would “minimize and mitigate” the impacts on historical, cultural, and environmental resources.

Opponents say they will challenge the decision in court.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

photo: Bob Jagendorf

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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