Courtesy of Preservation Action
On April 28, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar gave the green light for the first off shore wind farm in the United States. Cape Wind, a privately owned company, is calling for 130 wind turbines to be placed in the Nantucket Sound to produce energy for the state of Massachusetts. In a decision that has split politicians, preservationists and environmental groups, Salazar’s approval is a significant move from Washington and could set the stage for future decisions that privilege green energy over conservation and preservation. Cape Wind is still seeking approval from other regulatory groups including the Federal Aviation Administration.
In addition to natural habitats, the historic landscape, and cultural and economic practices like fishing and tourism, the Aquinnah and Mashpee tribes have laid claim to the Nantucket Sound as sacred places of ritual and burial. In January of this year they successfully obtained an eligibility ruling from the Keeper of the National Register.
The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, in its comments, said the project "...will introduce visual elements that are out of character. 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.”
Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) issued the following statement: “I am strongly opposed to the administration’s misguided decision to move forward with Cape Wind. While I support the concept of wind power as an alternative source of energy, Nantucket Sound is a national treasure that should be protected from industrialization.”