Drawing Battle Lines

December 22nd, 2008 - posted by Daniel Coffin

At the urging of Representative James Oberstar, the Coast Guard announced last week that they will delay their recommendation regarding Cape Wind to the Minerals Management Service by one month.

Representative Nick J. Rahall II of West Virginia does not believe that that is enough time for the public to comment. He is the chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources and the second-most senior Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, of which Oberstar is chairman. Rahall wrote a letter to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthome requesting that MMS delay the release of the final environmental review until the Coast Guard “has provided the public 60 days to review and comment on a third-party review of the radar study submitted by the Cape Wind project developers.”

This comes mere days after two familiar senators once again tossed their hat into the ring. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Pete Domenici, both of New Mexico and respectively the chairman and ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, wrote a letter to the Department of the Interior, calling for a quick completion of their final environmental review.

Despite their letter, the Minerals Management Service announced last Thursday that the agency will not be releasing their final review this year as originally expected.

This delay guarantees that the final decision on Cape Wind will be made by the incoming Obama administration. A period of thirty days after the release of the final environmental review is required before the Secretary of the Interior can sign off on it and work out the terms of the lease. President-elect Barack Obama had named Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado as interior secretary.

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