With the state permitting hurdle cleared, things were looking up for the Cape Wind project, but bad news over the weekend: the Boston Globe reports that the Mineral Management Service ("MMS") has announced that the Federal environmental review of the Cape Wind project will be delayed...again. For those keeping track, the environmental review process for this project is entering its sixth year. As we reported late last year, the federal environmental review process essentially started over when Congress transfered jurisdiction over permitting for offshore wind projects from the Corps of Engineers to the MMS (which is located in the Department of the Interior). MMS was scheduled to publish its draft environmental impact statement this month, but has now pushed back the scheduled release date until late summer (at the earliest).
According to Nicolette Nye, spokesman for the MMS, the delay is due to the fact that the Cape Wind Project is one of the first offshore wind project proposed in the U.S., and presents some complex environmental impact isssues:
But opponents and proponents seem to be speculating that the delay may mean trouble for the project. Stay tuned.
"Offshore alternative energy is a new frontier for the nation," Nye said. "Thus the agency is proceeding with the review of the Cape Wind Energy Project in an appropriately deliberate and diligent manner."