Federal panel advises Secretary Salazar to deny Cape Wind permit

Cape Wind Associates’ nine-year effort to place 130 wind turbines on Horseshoe Shoal hit another bump in the regulatory road last week. Following a public hearing on March 22, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) issued a decision (available at mvtimes.com) that advised Ken Salazar, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior, to reject Cape Wind’s plan.

Last month, Mr. Salazar, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior, said that he would make a decision on a permit before the end of April. “The parties, the public, and the permit applicants deserve resolution and certainty,” he said.

The elected leadership of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe cited tribal ceremonies associated with an unobstructed view of the sun as it rises over the sound in their opposition to Cape Wind.

The ACHP said, “The project will adversely affect 34 historic properties including 16 historic districts and 12 individually significant historic properties on Cape Cod. Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island, and six properties of religious and cultural significance to tribes, including Nantucket Sound itself.”

Included in the list are the Nantucket Historic District, the Kennedy Compound, and five properties having traditional religious and cultural importance to the tribes. The ACHP said, “At the request of the tribes, details about the specific nature or location of these sites have been withheld from the public record to preserve confidentiality.”

ACHP said, “Adverse effects on historic properties will be direct and indirect, cannot be avoided, and cannot be satisfactorily mitigated.” The ACHP also noted, “The altered view of the eastern horizon across Nantucket Sound that would result from the project will have a significant adverse effect to the Wampanoag tribes’ traditional cultural practices as carried out in relation to six eligible traditional cultural properties. The Wampanoag tribes have stated that an uninterrupted view across Nantucket Sound of the rising eastern sun for religious purposes is a defining feature of Wampanoag tribal culture and history.”

In a statement emailed to The Times Monday, Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, chairman of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head, expressed gratitude for the ACHP’s decision.

Ms. Maltais urged Mr. Salazar to deny Cape Wind a permit and “demonstrate the Federal Government’s commitment to ensuring that they are conscientious stewards of our shared resources; that they recognize that this is the wrong project in the wrong location, out of scope and out of scale for our area.”