In response to a decision by the National Park Service (NPS) that makes Nantucket Sound eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, Ken Salazar, secretary of the Department of the Interior, issued a statement saying he hopes for an agreement among opposing parties regarding the Cape Wind project by March 1.
Cape Wind Associates is proposing to build a 130-turbine, 420 MW project in Nantucket Sound. Salazar says the NPS' determination shows that archeological, historic and cultural factors have been considered in the review of the permit for the Cape Wind project by the Minerals Management Service (MMS).
‘The [Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places'] finding that Nantucket Sound is eligible for listing in the National Register provides information that will help us to undertake final consultations and analysis of potential impacts of wind development on historic and cultural resources in Nantucket Sound,’ says Salazar.
After several years of delays, Cape Wind needs a final federal permit from the MSS to begin construction.
The United South and Eastern Tribes Inc., an intertribal organization consisting of 25 federally recognized tribes, drafted a resolution last year asking that the MMS halt action on Cape Wind.
According to the resolution, the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head is opposed to the project because it considers Nantucket Sound part of its ancient homeland and cultural property.
Mark Rodgers, communications director for Cape Wind Associates, praised Salazar's decision to become directly involved in the issue so that a final decision on the project can be made.
‘The issues the Tribes have raised will be among the many issues Secretary Salazar will have in front of him when he makes his overarching decision on the project, and we're confident when he looks at the project in its entirety, he'll see that the benefits of jobs, cleaner air, greater energy independence and taking action on climate change will far outweigh any perceived negative impact,’ he notes.
Salazar says that it is time for a final decision on the Cape Wind project.
‘That is why I am gathering the principal parties together next week to consider the findings of the Keeper and to discuss how we might find a common sense agreement on actions that could be taken to minimize and mitigate Cape Wind's potential impacts on historic and cultural resources,’ he explains, adding that if an agreement among parties cannot be reached, he will take the necessary steps to bring the permitting process to conclusion.