Congressman Asks Coast Guard to Delay Offshore Wind Farm

  • Published on December 13th, 2008

offshore wind farm

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.

[social_buttons]Oberstar, Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee sent a letter to Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen this week 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.

>>More on Cape Wind

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 Massachusets 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

About the Author

is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media, a media network about the politics of energy and the environment, green business, cleantech, and green living. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.


  • "I don’t think it’s fair to make defamatory suggestions, like that by Dennis, about Oberstar. He’s probably just trying to do his job, and his liberal, pro-environment, and honest credentials can’t really be questioned."

    There was a public consultation.

    This is an OFFSHORE wind farm. How was marine radar and safety not on the top of the list? In what universe would the Coast Guard and other affected parties not have given their professional opinion already?

    Which means if your assertion is true then both the regulators and the interested parties have been completely incompetent during the last 8 years. In which case we'd need more than 60 days to get the job right because they'd all need to be replaced first, including whoever was in charge of the coast guard at the time.

    Many people complain about how long civil authority decisions take. Now they have to sit on their hands for another 60 days because somebody couldn't be bothered to speak up before?

  • Sounds like during this regulatory purgatory, everyone has had a chance to way in… except operators of marine vessels and the Coast Guard employees who have to risk their lives to protect them.

    It sounds like all he is doing is asking for the opportunity to hear input from these stakeholders. Transparency, openness, and public discussion are good things and I wonder why a period of formal public notice and comment was't done by the Coast Guard commandant himself to begin with. It might be legally required and it's a good idea anyway.

    I don't think it's fair to make defamatory suggestions, like that by Dennis, about Oberstar. He's probably just trying to do his job, and his liberal, pro-environment, and honest credentials can't really be questioned.

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