Development

Save Our Sound
From Development Threats

While Cape Wind is no longer a threat, the waters in the center of Nantucket Sound remain open to industrialization and leasing by the federal government. Inappropriate industrial development within these waters would disrupt fish migration, threaten habitat, endanger navigational safety, disturb indigenous history, and destroy burial sites.

State waters, which extend 3 miles from the shores of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, are protected under Massachusetts law, but federal waters in the center are vulnerable. Unless the Sound, an environmentally sensitive body of water, is permanently protected, it faces a future of industrial activity, especially as ocean-based technology develops. The 1961 establishment of the Cape Cod National Seashore safeguarded this exceptional place from development. The same must be done for Nantucket Sound to ensure it remains the national treasure it is today.

Legislation

Federal legislation – the Nantucket Sound National Historic Landmark Act – would extend the jurisdiction of Massachusetts to Nantucket Sound for limited purposes—specifically, the Massachusetts Ocean Sanctuaries Act (MOSA) and the Act to Promote Energy Diversity. This has already been done for fisheries management under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The bill would require federal authority to be exercised in a manner that is consistent with existing state law.

Massachusetts Ocean Sanctuaries Act

MOSA protects designated state ocean sanctuaries from any “exploitation, development or activity that would seriously alter or otherwise endanger the ecology or the appearance of the ocean, the seabed or subsoil thereof, or the Cape Cod National Seashore.”

MOSA protects these state coastal waters by prohibiting activities that could be or damaging including:

building of any structure on the seabed or in its subsoil

drilling or removal of any sand, gravel or other minerals, gases or oil

dumping or discharge of commercial or industrial wastes

incineration of solid waste material or refuse

offshore or floating electric generating stations

MOSA regulations also prohibit:

removing any soil, sand, gravel, or other minerals in any significant amounts

changing drainage or flushing characteristics, salinity distribution, sedimentation or flow patterns, flood storage areas, or the water table to more than a negligible extent

dumping, discharging, or filling with any material that could degrade water quality

driving pilings or erecting buildings or other structures of any significant size or quantity

destroying or adversely affecting in more than a negligible way any plant or animal life, including shellfish and fisheries

changing the temperature, biochemical oxygen demand, or other natural characteristics of the water so that there is more than a negligible adverse effect

significantly increasing the development of already developed areas

developing any previously undeveloped or natural areas

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