The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Elliott Negin,Media Director,

Favorable Cape Wind Decision Paves Way for American Clean Energy Development, UCS Says

Facility Could Meet up to 75 Percent of Cape Cod and Islands’ Electricity Demand


Leading environmental organizations hailed today's historic decision
by Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar to provide federal
approval for Cape Wind, allowing the country's first utility-scale
offshore wind farm to move forward. The announcement signaled the
Administration's intentions to support renewable energy development off
U.S. shores, a major component of a clean energy economy and reduced
dependence on fossil fuels, the organizations said.

Today's announcement ends a nearly nine-year environmental review
process, much longer than is typical for a traditional coal power
plant. The decision clears the way for Cape Wind to begin the
permitting process and develop a 130 turbine wind farm in Nantucket
Sound, which could meet as much as 75 percent of the electricity demand
for Cape Cod and the Islands.

The Conservation Law Foundation , Mass Audubon, the Natural
Resources Defense Council and the Union of Concerned Scientists said
the decision will help get clean, renewable American energy up and
running, cut global warming pollution, fuel economic growth, provide
jobs, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and promote energy

"Offshore wind energy can play a major role in repowering America,
and Cape Wind shows us how it can be done," said NRDC Counsel on Air
and Energy Kit Kennedy. "We can harness the domestic energy potential
off our shores while protecting our oceans at the same time. Cape Wind
jumpstarts the American offshore wind industry and sets the stage for
the U.S. to become a leader in clean energy."

The Administration conducted a fair and open process to reach
today's decision, gathering extensive input from all interested
stakeholders, including environmental organizations, Native American
tribes, clean energy advocates, labor unions, community, business and
trade groups, public health organizations and local citizens. Cape Wind
has strong public support and demonstrated economic and environmental
benefits, and has undergone exhaustive scientific review clearing the
project of significant impacts to ocean habitats and wildlife.

"After nine years of project review and independent scientific field
research, Mass Audubon has concluded that the Cape Wind project would
not pose an ecologically significant threat to the birds and associated
marine habitat of Horseshoe Shoal and Nantucket Sound," said Laura
Johnson, president of Mass Audubon. "Renewable energy needs to grow
quickly to reduce the most severe effects associated with rapid climate
change, yet it must be done responsibly to minimize the impact on the
environment. Cape Wind meets those requirements, including extensive
monitoring of wildlife and habitat, creating a model for the nation. We
support this momentous decision by the Obama Administration, which will
position the United States to become a leader in the development of
green energy, and, if done responsibly, will benefit both people and

"We're already seeing changes consistent with global warming across
the Northeast, changes that are altering the fundamental character of
the region," said John Rogers, a senior energy analyst in UCS's Climate
and Energy Program. "We can still avoid the worst of climate change,
but that means seriously ramping up the nation's renewable energy use -
including offshore wind energy. The Cape Wind project approval means
we'll now have a new arrow in the nation's renewable energy quiver."

The Minerals Management Service calculated that, due to reduced need
for fossil-fuel generated power to serve the area's needs, Cape Wind
will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by nearly one million
tons per year, or approximately one percent of total greenhouse gas
emissions in Massachusetts from all sources. Cape Wind will play an
important role in helping Massachusetts achieve the 10 to 25 percent
reduction in emissions by 2020 required by state law.

"Today is a turning point for New England in which we can start to
turn smokestacks into wind turbines," said John Kassel, president of
Conservation Law Foundation. "It is fitting that Massachusetts, which
has no coal or oil of its own to burn, should be first in the water
with offshore wind, a carbon-free energy source which we have in
abundance. With Secretary Salazar's decision, we are ready to bring
this project to completion at last and give the nation a glimpse into
its clean energy future."

The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.