A four-hour meeting Monday was the last chance for members of the public to vocalize their thoughts on Cape Wind’s plans for a 130 turbine wind farm in historic Nantucket Sound.
A four-hour meeting Monday was the last chance for members of the public to vocalize their thoughts on Cape Wind’s plans for a 130 turbine wind farm in historic Nantucket Sound. Written comment can still be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 p.m. March 29.
The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, a federal agency established in 1966, held a meeting at the Tilden Arts Center at Cape Cod Community College to collect comment about the effects of the wind farm on historic cultural properties. The agency will issue the comments to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar before April 14, and he’ll determine whether the Minerals Management Service will issue the project a permit for development in federal waters.
Five officials were in Barnstable to listen the citizens and principals in the dispute.
“Cape Wind has been sensitive to historic and cultural concerns through nine years of this process,” Mark Rodgers, communications director of Cape Wind, told the panel. “The only impacts to historic properties identified there previously are visual. The impacts are minimal only, and the National Park Service has determined Cape Wind has no direct adverse historical impact on historic properties.”
Rodgers pointed out Cape Wind already had made adjustments, reducing the number of turbines from 170 to 139, relocating them further from land and changing the paint and lighting.
“There were once thousands of windmills in this area in close proximity to the historic properties in question,” he said.
Brona Simon, a state historic preservation officer who disagreed with the Minerals Management Service finding that the Nantucket Sound was not eligible for listing as a historic property, felt differently.
She noted that the project was 24 to 25 square miles in size, the largest requiring a section 106 review since the 1966 act was passed.
“You can see the concern we have with the adverse effects of the proposal,” she said. “The visual element will alter the setting outside the character of the historic properties."
Simon noted that since the sound isn’t yet listed as a National Historic Landmark, the Park Service determined the effects would be indirect. But she noted the sound was important to both the Wampanoag tribes and European settlers.
“In addition, there are underwater cultural resources likely to be imperiled by construction,” she said. “(It is an area) likely to have been utilized by native American ancestors.”
Simon said alternate sites have been suggested (such as south of Martha’s Vineyard).
“In the years since (2001), deep-water wind technology has made considerable progress,” she said. “It is frustrating that the MMS process requires only a yes or no decision by Secretary Salazar and the MMS doesn’t have the ability to change the project location.”
The Cape Codder