Massachusetts Court Grants Cape Wind All State, Local Permits

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The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has upheld the ruling of a state energy board that had granted all state and local permits to Cape Wind, clearing the way for the construction of the 420 MW offshore wind farm to proceed on Nantucket Sound.

‘Today's decision by the state high court is the latest in a long series of legal decisions rejecting the arguments of an opposition group funded largely by donors who have made their fortunes in the coal and oil industries that has sought to kill this vital clean energy project,’ says Matthew Pawa, an attorney representing Clean Power Now, a nonprofit grassroots organization that works to increase support for renewable energy.

The court's decision affirmed a May 2009 decision by the state's Energy Facility Siting Board, which had granted Cape Wind a composite certificate. Cape Wind had been denied a local permit from the Cape Cod Commission and, thus, applied to the siting board for a single permit that would consist of all state and local permits for the Cape Wind project.

Clean Power Now had intervened in the siting board case and argued that Cape Wind was entitled to a composite certificate, so that the state permitting process could come to a close. In all, 17 federal and state agencies reviewed Cape Wind.

The court rejected the opponents' claims that the siting board did not properly consider the environmental impacts of the transmission lines associated with the wind project, and found the board's decision on that point to be ‘supported by substantial evidence in the record.’ Cape Wind now has in hand all federal and state permits needed to construct the wind farm.

‘This important decision brings Cape Wind's benefits of hundreds of new jobs, greater energy independence and a healthier environment that much closer to the people of Massachusetts,’ says Mark Rodgers, communications director for Cape Wind. ‘The court was right to say no to the delay tactics of the oil- and coal-funded opposition group which brought this lawsuit.’

SOURCES: Clean Power Now, Cape Wind

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