[Cross-posted at Red, Green, and Blue] In what must have triggered a collective moan of 'are you kidding me?' from environmentalists and renewable energy advocates across the country and the world, Minnesota Representative Jim Oberstar, a Democrat, has asked the United States Coast Guard to delay its final recommendations on the proposed Cape Wind project. If built, the project would be the first offshore wind farm in the United States.
Oberstar, Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee sent a letter to Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen requesting an extension of at least 60 days to conduct a public comment period to gauge opinion on the wind farm's potential impact on marine radar and safety.
In a written statement released Friday, Clean Power Now Executive Barbara Hill condemned the move as a stalling tactic that directly contradicted the position of Massachusetts residents, as well as the position of the vast majority of his party, including president-elect Barack Obama. Hill writes:
"Congressman Oberstar asked for this extension at the 11th hour and after 8 years of regulatory review. This is clearly a device to create further obstacles for Cape Wind at a time when the country needs and is ready to move toward wind power energy."
An overwhelming 87 percent of Massachusetts voters recently voted to support the Cape Wind project which is awaiting final regulatory approval from the Minerals and Mining Service sometime before the end of the year. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne must then wait the required 30 days to make the decision official, which means the official decision will come after Barack Obama's term begins - and after Kempthorne has been relieved of his duties.
The project has been in regulatory pinball for the last eight years.
Image: Christopher Owen Jones via flickr under a Creative Commons License