America’s first offshore wind generation project, the controversial Cape Wind development in Nantucket Sound off Massachusetts, has been thrown a lifeline after Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Pete Domenici and Ranking Member Jeff Bingaman reached an agreement with Senators Ted Kennedy and Ted Stevens on changes to a provision inserted into the Coast Guard appropriations bill that would have allowed the Coast Guard and the governor of Massachusetts final approval over the siting of the project.

The four senators agreed to a concurrent resolution that drops any reference to the governor of Massachusetts and gives the commandant of the Coast Guard only the authority to spell out the terms and conditions for the wind project which are necessary for navigational safety.

Domenici said: “For all future projects, we will use the siting model we created in the energy bill. That’s a sound model. It gives the Coast Guard and other federal agencies a voice; it gives local and state governments a voice; but it prevents local special interests from torpedoing a reasonable and much-needed energy project in federal waters.”

The news comes as a second wind project off Long Island in Connecticut proceeds with an Environmental Impact Statement. The Minerals Management Service (MMS) of the federal Department of Interior announced that it will conduct two EIS scoping meetings under the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

The 140 MW project would be located some 8km offshore between Jones Beach and Robert Moses State Park when built, possibly by the summer of 2008. LIPA awarded construction and ownership of the project to Florida Power and Light in 2004.

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