January 14, 2010
Salazar promises April decision on Cape Wind
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar yesterday held a series of meetings on the Cape Wind Nantucket Sound offshore wind farm project.
They produced no miraculous breakthrough.
The upshot was that Salazar promised he would issue a decision on whether or not to approve the project by April if the project developer and opponents of the wind farm could not reach a compromise before March 1.
"That will be the final decision for the department with respect to the Cape Wind application," he said during a press conference after the meetings.
Whether the interested parties will indeed reach a compromise before March 11 remains unclear.
Yesterday, Salazar and Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk first met with members of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah). The tribes say Nantucket Sound contains important archeological sites and is crucial to their religious practices. The meetings held yesterday followed a finding by the Massachusetts Historical Commission and the National Park Service that the Sound is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
After the meeting with the tribes, Salazar held a closed door session with more than two dozen representatives from local and state governments, regional planners, and opponents and proponents of Cape Wind.
Representatives of Cape Wind, the Massachusetts Historical Commission, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and Minerals Management Service met briefly in the afternoon to discuss the "Section 106" review of the project's impacts on historic and archeological resources.
A public comment period on the Section 106 process will remain open until February 12, Salazar said.