DC Circuit affirms crucial FAA no-hazard determination for Cape Wind project

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By Kenneth Quinn, Jennifer Trock and Osama Hamdy

On 22 January 2014, the DC Circuit upheld the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) 2012 determination of no hazard, clearing the final FAA hurdle to construction of the 130-wind turbine Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound.

The $2.6bn (£1.6bn) Cape Wind project has drawn considerable attention and controversy as the first offshore wind farm in US waters. Opponents have been eager to see the Cape Wind project killed or relocated and have brought multiple lawsuits, including an unsuccessful challenge under state environmental law and current litigation in federal court over claimed impacts on cultural resources, alleging harm to views of Nantucket Sound important in Native American rituals.

After four rounds of FAA determinations of no hazard and two appellate challenges, the multi-year obstruction review process has finally been resolved — concluding that the proposed turbines would not be a hazard to air navigation. The multiple challenges have delayed the controversial project by more than 13 years…

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