APNS files suit to halt the privatization and destruction of Nantucket Sound
June 29, 2010
For Immediate Release
Phone: (617) 646-1029
Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound Files Suit to Halt the Privatization and Destruction of Nantucket Sound
Suit Comes on the Heels of Major Lawsuits Filed by Other Parties
Hyannis, MA (June 28, 2010) – The Alliance to Protect Nantucket SoundFriday filed suit under multiple federal laws to bar the Cape Wind industrial wind project from Nantucket Sound.
“Those who care deeply about our natural environment, historic resources, public safety, and the regional economy will not under any circumstances accept an industrial wind project that would devastate Nantucket Sound, one of the most precious marine ecosystems in our country,” said Audra Parker, president and CEO of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. “We will not stand by while our treasured public ocean waters and lands are marred forever by private industry.”
The suit follows lawsuits by a coalition of environmental groups – including, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), Cetacean Society International, Three Bays Preservation, and others – against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the successor to the Minerals Management Service, the Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOE), for violations of the Endangered Species Act and other environmental laws. Lawsuits also were filed by the Town of Barnstable and Martha’s Vineyard/Duke’s County Fishermen’s Association.
The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound filed suit against Ken Salazar, BOE, and the U.S. Coast Guard for taking action on April 28 to grant a private lease to Cape Wind Associates to develop the Sound for private financial gain. BOE replaces the Minerals Management Service (MMS), which has been reorganized in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster. Audra Parker stated: “The same pattern of lax environmental and safety review, and the desire to advance energy development at any cost that has been so evident recently in the actions of MMS, also occurred throughout the review of Cape Wind. Our lawsuit will shine a bright light on those violations of law that have defined the culture and practice of MMS.”
Numerous state and federal agencies have supported the stakeholders’ positions on the unparalleled historic and cultural values of Nantucket Sound, including the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Massachusetts Historical Commission and the National Park Service. In a precedent-setting action, the National Park Service ruled that Nantucket Sound itself was eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places which, like our national parklands, would provide it a higher level of protection from industrial development. The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation recommended that Cape Wind be barred from Nantucket Sound because its effects would be “pervasive, destructive, and, in the instance of seabed construction, permanent.”
Before the federal decision, dozens of stakeholders urged MMS to adopt a win-win result by approving the project at a lower-cost, lower-impact site. Rather than select the consensus solution, MMS simply adopted the developer’s proposal. Parker explained: “For years, the Alliance and others have offered to work with Cape Wind, MMS, and the Patrick Administration to approve a mutually acceptable site. Unfortunately, they chose conflict over consensus.”
Looming cost issues have also put the future of the project in question. Recently, the Patrick Administration tried to bar from the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) proceedings on the cost of the project about 20 project opponents, including the state’s largest business group and some of the state’s largest employers, who have voiced opposition to the crushing rate increases consumers would be forced to pay to cover the exorbitant cost of Cape Wind.
Two of the three candidates for Governor oppose Cape Wind and its cost burden on consumers and businesses. Attorney General Martha Coakley has launched an investigation into the cost of Cape Wind.
“Cape Wind would cost Massachusetts consumers and businesses more than $6 billion over the next 15 years,” said Parker. “Our economy simply cannot sustain it – particularly when there are renewable energy alternatives like land-based wind available to the State of Massachusetts at a fraction of the cost.”