Hyannis, Mass. (November 28, 2017) – The Town of Barnstable, the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, and the Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership are among the groups now appealing the recent federal decision to leave in place the long-term federal lease for the Cape Wind project slated for Nantucket Sound.
In September, ignoring the objections of dozens of state and local leaders including the Cape and Islands legislative delegation, two local Native American tribes, and the Steamship Authority, the federal Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) rubber stamped Cape Wind’s lease to 46-square miles of Nantucket Sound for 130 wind turbines. The lease as it currently stands is valid through the year 2041. Cape Wind has also recently requested a two-year extension of the lease.
The notice of appeal was filed on Nov. 21 to the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA). The appeal will argue that Cape Wind should have been required to submit an entirely new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) reflecting the myriad of developments since the EIS was first issued in 2009 – not merely a narrowly focused revision. More significantly, the appeal will assert that BOEM failed to take into account a series of setbacks for Cape Wind that make it clear the project is no longer viable.
Since 2009, Cape Wind has lost state permits for transmission lines needed to bring their power ashore as well as power purchase agreements to sell their high priced power to Massachusetts utilities. Furthermore, there are numerous alternative sites now available outside of Nantucket Sound – and considerable new information on the various impacts of the project that should have been taken into consideration and led to termination of the project’s lease.
“We are filing an appeal because this project is not viable, is too expensive and is opposed by residents, businesses, and municipal leaders across Massachusetts,” said Audra Parker, President and CEO of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. “It is clear that Cape Wind has no intention of withdrawing from its efforts to build in our waters. Until they no longer hold a lease to the seabed, we have to remain vigilant and continue to fight to end it.”
Other entities signing on in support of the appeal include the Barnstable Clean Water Coalition, the Cape Cod Marine Trades Association, Hyannis Marina, the Barnstable Municipal Airport, Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce, the Hyannis Marina, the Wampanoag Tribe of Gayhead-Aquinnah, and the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association. Numerous individuals have signed on to the appeal as well.
“There is no support for Cape Wind – it has no investors, it is in a terrible location, the technology is outdated,” Parker said. “But they do hold a lease to some extraordinarily valuable and precious seabed, and we need to be certain that Nantucket Sound is never developed by Cape Wind or any other developer that may buy the lease from them.”