Court Rules Again in Favor of Cape Wind's Data Tower

US Army Corps of Engineers authority upheld yet again in Federal Court. Massachusetts GE workers rally for wind work
If the NIMBYs had not spent millions to thwart this renewable energy project, it would be under construction today and soon provide Cape Cod with lower cost, renewable electricity.

By Walter Brooks

In an important victory for the United States Army Corp of Engineers, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has affirmed a prior Federal District Court decision denying the lawsuit filed by the â??Alliance to Protect Nantucket Soundâ? that had challenged the legal authority of the USACE in granting Cape Wind a permit for its Scientific Data Tower in Nantucket Sound.

Score to date:
Cape Wind 4, Alliance 0

Todayâ??s Federal Appeals Court decision marks the fourth time a federal court has made a ruling concerning Cape Windâ??s Scientific Data Tower. Cape Wind has received a favorable outcome in each of these four rulings.

GE workers work for wind, will meet with Ted: 
By Jay Fitzgerald/ HERALD EXCLUSIVE - 2/19/05 
   Blue-collar General Electric workers in Lynn have launched a campaign to support a planned Nantucket Sound wind farm project vehemently opposed by many of the rich and famous residents of Cape Cod and the islands.
   Leaders of the IUE-CWA Local 201, which represents 2,500 workers at GE's Riverworks plant, are passing out petitions and meeting with lawmakers in an effort to promote wind energy and possibly create hundreds of manufacturing jobs in Lynn.
   GE, via its wind-energy unit, is in line to land the more-than-$200 million contract to build the 130 giant wind turbines for the proposed project, spearheaded by Cape Wind Associates. "It's the potential for long-term work for us," said Jeff Crosby, president of the local.
   "We're hoping to make components (for the turbines) in Lynn." The Riverworks plant primarily makes jet engines, but has been lately building experimental gear boxes for wind turbines, he said.
   Union leaders plan to meet Tuesday with U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), who's a close friend of labor but opposes the proposed wind farm just off the coast of his family's Hyannis compound. "No one has been a greater champion of bringing jobs to Massachusetts," a Kennedy spokesman said in a statement yesterday. "But he will continue to oppose wind farms off our shores until we put into place a coherent policy and process to guide offshore energy development."
   U.S. Rep. John Tierney (D-Salem) said he has talked with union leaders about pushing for wind-turbine jobs in Lynn, though he said yesterday that he hasn't made up his mind on the proposed Nantucket Sound project.
   See Herald original story here.

Many in the environmental community feel that nothing is being gained by these delays other than increase the cost of the project when it is finally built. For an example, during the four years of the obstructing moves by the Alliance and others, the cost of steel has doubled.

The court decision rejected the Alliance claim that the Army Corps of Engineers permitting authority was limited to structures used for minerals extraction, with the court decision stating that, â??â?¦legislative history reveals, with exceptional clarity, Congressâ?? intent that Section 10 authority under OCSLA [the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act] not be restricted to structures related to mineral extraction.â?

Cape Wind President Jim Gordon welcomed the news of the courtâ??s decision, â??This decision affirms the permitting authority of the Corps of Engineers and it removes another roadblock to the day when the citizens of Cape Cod and the region begin to enjoy the public interest benefits of cleaner air, new jobs and reduced reliance on foreign energy that this wind farm will provide.â?

US Supreme Court decision

Last month the United States Supreme Court rejected the request by another citizen group to determine whether state or federal officials should have primary authority over the Sound.

"For better or worse, the Alliance tried to litigate the same issue that will be at stake on the whole project later. It was their decision to do that, and they have to live with the case law they created."

A live data feed from the Scientific Data Tower on Horseshoe Shoal is provided on Cape Windâ??s website. The sate tower shows wind speed, wind direction, and the quantity of clean energy Cape Wind would be producing if it were built today.

Mr. Gordon added, "It's a victory for Cape Wind and another loss for the Alliance. The courts have affirmed that the Army Corps of Engineers has the authority to permit the data tower, and they did it in the proper manner."

Seth Kaplan, an attorney with the Conservation Law Foundation commented "For better or worse, the Alliance tried to litigate the same issue that will be at stake on the whole project later. It was their decision to do that, and they have to live with the case law they created."  

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