BULLETIN: MMS set to release Cape Wind report today

The U.S. Minerals Management Service is scheduled to release its final environmental impact statement today, Friday, Jan. 16 on Cape Wind.

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The Boston Globe reported that the MMS report was favorable on Cape Windand it would have mostly "negligible" or "minor" impacts on wildlife,navigation and tourism, see story here. The Associated Press, WorcesterTelegram and Providence Journal reported that it "would pose no majorenvironmental problems."

The agency's report on the wind farm, a project that would consist of 130 turbines generating up to 468 megawatts of electricity, will be published in today's Federal Register.

The agency is the lead federal permitting agency for Cape Wind,  which would be built in federal waters. The agency's report will weigh heavily in the subsequent decision by the Department of the Interior whether to approve the project.

About a year ago, the MMS released a draft environmental impact statement that was favorable toward the project, initially proposed by Cape Wind Associates LLC in the summer of 2001.

Cape Wind backers say the project could meet up to 75 percent of the power demand on Cape Cod and the Islands.

The wind farm would be built on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound, about five miles south of the Cape.

The proposed wind farm has generated extensive controversy in the intervening years. Supporters say the project will deliver clean, renewable energy. Opponents say the project will damage Nantucket Sound's environment and interfere with navigation.

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The MMS Environmental Impact Study released earlier stated that the project "would pose no majorenvironmental problems."

Cape Wind already is the subject of several lawsuits, and more litigation is likely once the record of decision is issued by the Interior Department after 30 days.

Just over a year ago, on Jan. 11, MMS filed the draft environmental impact statement for the Cape Wind energy project with the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Boston Globe reported that the report was favorable on Cape Wind and it would have mostly "negligible" or "minor" impacts on wildlife, navigation and tourism. The Associated Press, Worcester Telegram and Providence Journal reported that it "would pose no major environmental problems."

Readings indicated a far more comprehensive report than the draft environmental statement issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers three years earlier, but basically as positive for the project.

The Army Corps handled the initial review of the project. Congress then assigned oversight to the MMS, which subsequently conducted its own review.

The MMS draft statement released last January considered all reasonable alternatives to the proposed construction of the wind farm, including a no action alternative. Seven alternatives are analyzed in detail in the draft EIS: the proposed action, no action, a smaller configuration, phased development, a condensed array at Horseshoe Shoal site in Nantucket Sound, or alternative sites at Monomoy Shoals and south of Tuckernuck Island.

Read the draft environmental statement by MMS on Cape Wind here.
Read Cape Cod Today's initial report on the draft environmental statement here.
Below is a nautical chart of Nantucket Sound showing the federal waters within the red line.
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