Friday, April 07, 2006

Cape Wind Dealt Setback

The Boston Globe reports today that members of a congressional conference committee have agreed to language that would effectively give Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney a veto over the proposed Cape Wind project.

According to the Globe, agreement on the controversial legislative amendment was reached after Gordon H. Smith, an Oregon Republican, switched sides and backed the measure.

As we discussed yesterday, the amendment, which was proposed during close-door conference committee negotiations on a Coast Guard budget bill, would require Gov. Romney's sign-off on the Cape Wind project before federal approval of the project. Gov. Romney has expressed his dislike of the project on numerous occasions, and if offered the opportunity, would certainly block construction of the project.

The potential agreement comes as a significant setback to Cape Wind developers, who have already invested in a lengthy public review of the project. Changing the rules in the middle of a project review process flies in the face of basic fundamental fairness, not to mention traditional notions of due process, and its unfortunate to see this amendment gaining support.

While targeted at the Cape Wind project individually, the potential for similar vetoes on other projects adds an unacceptable element of uncertainty for offshore wind projects around the U.S., particularly given the already boarder-line financial viability of such projects.

Cape Code Today has more on these developments, including a statement of Jim Gordon, President of Cape Wind in response to the proposed amendments.

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