Cape Waits For Decision

In less than two weeks, the fate of a clean-energy project eight years in the making will finally be determined. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has announced that he will determine if the Cape Wind offshore wind project will go forward by Friday, February 12.

Environmentalists greatly supported the Cape Wind project because the plan calls for 130 wind turbines, which would generate up to 420 megawatts of clean energy. This would be enough electricity to replace the current oil-burning power plant located in the area, thereby reducing the area's greenhouse-gas emissions by 734,000 tons per year, according to Greenpeace. This is equivalent to removing 175,000 cars from the road.

"We're confident that the concerns about preserving the historic and cultural value of Nantucket Sound can be met while still moving forward with the Cape Wind project," said Kert Davies, research director for Greenpeace, in a press release. "In fact, the impacts of unchecked global warming – including sea level rise that would all but erase the region's current coastline – are the far greater threat to Cape Cod."

This $ 900-million-project would be the United States' first offshore wind farm, and probably the only offshore farm approved and built during President Obama's first term, says Greenpeace, so its completion would demonstrate America's commitment to reducing our nation's carbon footprint and transitioning to a clean-energy economy.

Wind generated enough electricity in 2008 to power more than 1 percent of total electricity in the United States, according to the American Wind Energy Association. That equals 4.5 million households. This form of energy is renewable, widely distributed, plentiful and produces no greenhouse-gas emissions, which makes it an ideal substitute for fossil fuels and nuclear energy, and reduces America's dependence on foreign oil.

It may sound good, but the Cape Wind project has faced its share of opposition. Each turbine would stand 400-feet-tall and all together would cover 25 miles of the sound, which angers some environmental groups, who worry about the ecological impact of these large structures. American Indian tribes in the area also oppose the project because it interferees with their ancient religious rituals, which require an unblocked view of the sunrise. The National Park Service says the Nantucket Sound is eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.