Political pressure continues to build on Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as he prepares to announce his decision this week on the fate of a proposed wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass., that has been mired in legal disputes for nine years.
The governors of six East Coast states called on Mr. Salazar last week to approve the project, which is proposed by Cape Wind Associates and would be the nation’s first offshore wind farm. Turning it down, they said, especially on the grounds that it would harm the view from historic sites, “would establish a precedent that would make it difficult, if not impossible, to site offshore wind projects anywhere along the Eastern Seaboard.”
Jersey, New York and Rhode Island — all have offshore wind projects in the works. Four of the governors are Democrats and two, in New Jersey and Rhode Island, are Republicans, showing that views of Cape Wind do not break down along political lines.
Senator Scott Brown, Republican of Massachusetts, and Representative Bill Delahunt, a Democrat whose district includes Cape Cod, said in their own letter to Mr. Salazar last week that the project was fraught with conflicts.
An up-or-down decision, they said, would prompt years of litigation, so they encouraged him to try to forge a consensus among the stakeholders. That approach has proved problematic for several years and could take several more, given the intensity of interests on all sides.
Perhaps the most prominent opponents have been members of the Kennedy family, whose compound in Hyannis Port looks out on the proposed site. Senator Edward M. Kennedy called the project a special-interest giveaway and fought it until just before his death in August.
Senator John Kerry, the state’s other senator and a Democrat, has not publicly taken sides. When Mitt Romney, a Republican, was governor, he opposed the project.
The proposed 130-turbine farm would lie in Nantucket Sound about five miles from the nearest shoreline and would cover 24 square miles, about the size of Manhattan. The tip of the highest blade of each turbine would reach 440 feet above the surface of the water.
Mr. Salazar has said that he will announce his decision by Friday. (Source NYT)