Governors push Cape Wind OK

April 24, 2010|By Christine McConville | Boston Herald (MCT)

Governors of six East Coast states, including Maryland's Martin O'Malley, are teaming up to support Cape Wind, the controversial wind farm proposed for Nantucket Sound.

The governors have asked U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to disregard a recommendation by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to reject the project.

"If the ACHP's approach to historic preservation is adopted, it would establish a precedent that will make it difficult, if not impossible, to site offshore wind projects anywhere along the eastern seaboard," the governors wrote in a letter yesterday to Salazar.

The politically powerful missive lands about a week before Salazar is expected to rule on the contentious $1 billion-plus project, which calls for 130 turbines across 25 square miles of federal waters.

If approved, Cape Wind would be the nation's first offshore wind power project. Developer Jim Gordon first pitched the plan nine years ago.

Salazar enlisted the historic preservation panel on March 1 after he was unable to broker a compromise between Gordon and the project's critics.

On April 2, the panel issued a report highlighting several reasons to reject Cape Wind. One is that the turbines would be seen from historic properties on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

Now, the governors are telling Salazar that determination could have far-reaching implications.

"We are concerned that views ‘historically associated' with a property not be conflated with those that ‘inextricably contribute to a property's historic significance,' " the letter states.

The other governors are Jack Markell of Delaware, Martin O'Malley of Maryland, Chris Christie of New Jersey, David Paterson of New York and Donald Carcieri of Rhode Island.

Cape Wind critic Audra Parker, executive director of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, called the letter "surprising."

"These governors are urging that important issues be swept under the rug, in an attempt to green-light a project that would not only destroy a national treasure, but would also benefit a private developer who stands to gain billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies," she said.

A Salazar spokeswoman said the secretary is reviewing the letter.

cmcconville@bostonherald.com

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