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The Cape Cod Commission (CCC), a regional land-use planning and regulatory agency, has begun the process of appealing a decision by the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) to grant a Certificate of Environmental Impact and Public Interest for the construction of electric transmission lines by Cape Wind Associates. CCC contends that the decision attempts to override local and regional permitting processes.

Cape Wind Associates has proposed to build an offshore wind farm on Horseshoe Shoal.

According to the CCC, the EFSB has attempted to expand its jurisdiction to the point where a "good faith" effort at complying with local permitting is evidenced by simply filing an application. Allowing this process to stand would allow any type of future utility project to avoid local review in evaluating and mitigating local impacts, providing an outcome that favors certainty over fairness, CCC notes.

However, Mark Rodgers, director of communications for Cape Wind, says that the Massachusetts Legislature has given clear authority to EFSB to have the final word on permitting issues on electric transmission lines in Massachusetts, and does not believe the certificate will be rescinded.

"The Cape Cod Commission was provided more information and more time than any agency in Massachusetts has ever had in consideration of electric transmission lines, the portion of the project in their jurisdiction," says Rodgers.

SOURCES: Cape Cod Commission, Cape Wind Associates

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