Cape Wind Permit Wars

The Boston Globe is reporting that Cape Wind is seeking to consolidate all remaining state and local permit requests under one umbrella while it also seeks to overturn a local permit denial. From todays Globe:

Cape Wind Associates launched an effort yesterday to make an end run around local permit battles, asking a state energy panel to overrule a recent permit denial and to consolidate and approve the remaining eight state and local permits needed to build a wind farm in Nantucket Sound.The bold maneuver comes six years after Cape Wind first proposed the 130-turbine project, which is awaiting a long-delayed federal environmental review.

Cape Wind essentially seeks, after six years of pitched battles, to fight before one state board while it seeks final federal approval for this project, which is located in federal waters. The State Authority, called the Energy Facilities Siting Board, has broad powers to consolidate the remaining permits under its jurisdiction, and overturn the prior denial of a permit for the placement of transmission lines by the Cape Cod Commission. This permitting end run has elicited the anticipated howls of outrage from the usual suspects.

While Cape Wind’s new strategy could expedite the pace of development, it further alienated wind farm opponents, whose leader called the effort “underhanded.”

“It’s outrageous. Cape Wind is showing its true colors,” said Susan L. Nickerson, executive director of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. “There’s no more Mr. Nice Guy here.”

Cape Wind has the following permits left to be achieved.

In addition to federal approval and the permit from the commission, the wind farm still needs eight state and local permits, including a license and a water quality certification from DEP; highway access permits from the Massachusetts Highway Department; a license for a railway crossing from the Executive Office of Transportation; orders of conditions from the Yarmouth and Barnstable Conservation Commissions; and road opening permits from Yarmouth and Barnstable.

With the exception of the Conservation permits I do believe the remaining permits should be consolidated. Six years is a long time, and a lot of money. And so the Cape Wind Saga goes on, with some pretty determined (and rich) folks looking to block this green energy project.

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