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The Minerals Management Service (MMS), the lead agency in charge of offshore energy projects, has released its 2,800-page final environmental impact statement (FEIS) on Cape Wind.

"This report validates the project will create new jobs, increase energy independence and fight global warming, while being a good neighbor to the ecosystem of Nantucket Sound," says Jim Gordon, Cape Wind's developer. "Massachusetts is one major step closer to becoming home to America's first offshore wind farm and becoming a global leader in the production of offshore renewable energy."

The report included the following findings:

- Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound is environmentally and economically superior to the alternative site locations that were studied;

- Cape Wind will reduce regional air pollution emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and mercury;

- Building Cape Wind will create hundreds of jobs and generate over $500 million in non-labor purchases in Massachusetts and Rhode Island; and

- The proposed project will not increase energy prices in New England and could help to lower energy clearing prices.

Now that the MMS has issued the FEIS, its record of decision on granting a lease to Cape Wind could come within 30 days. According to the MMS FEIS, its "final decision would account for the regional, state and local benefits and impacts, as well as for the overall public interest of the United States."

The FEIS comes one year after MMS issued a draft EIS, which generated over 42,000 written public comments, over 40,000 of which were in support of the project. Prior to the MMS' becoming the lead Federal Reviewing Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a comprehensive 3,800-page draft EIS on Cape Wind in November 2004 that found significant public benefits and few impacts.

Cape Wind officials expect to complete the permitting process by March.

SOURCE: Cape Wind

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