- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Obama administration on Wednesday approved the country’s first offshore wind farm, in Nantucket Sound off the Cape Cod coast, overriding protests from some environmentalist groups and local residents.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he approved the project on the condition it was scaled back from 170 to 130 wind turbines and that additional environmental and historical studies be completed.

“Cape Wind will be the first U.S. offshore wind farms,” Mr. Salazar said at a press conference in Boston where he was joined by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Democrat and a supporter of the project. “It will be the first of many projects up and down the East Coast.”

The Interior Department had vowed to make a decision by the end of April on the hotly contested nine-year-old proposal.

President Obama had not said publicly whether he supports the project, despite his green-energy agenda that includes reducing U.S. dependence of foreign oil.

The project has been divisive in Massachusetts. The late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, a friend of Mr. Obama whose family compound is in the area, did not support the plan. Critics are concerned about the project harming the natural habitat and historical sites.

Mr. Patrick said construction will begin within a year.

States along the East Coast closely watched Mr. Salazar’s decision with more offshore wind energy projects in the pipeline.

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