Document Type

Symposium Article


Cape Wind Associates’ proposal to build the first offshore wind facility in Nantucket Sound has exposed a regulatory void resulting from the lack of a federal management program designed to govern the development of offshore wind energy projects. Though there are statutes that govern offshore oil and gas development, thermal energy conversion, and deepwater port construction, no such law exists for offshore wind energy development. In the face of this lack of federal management, Cape Wind seeks to freely use the lands and waters of Nantucket Sound with no property right or grant of permission other than a simple permit authorizing an impediment to navigation under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1899. No permits for projects like Cape Wind’s proposal should be issued until a comprehensive program is developed; this program should make possible the orderly, expeditious, and environmentally sound consideration of offshore wind energy projects with full return to the federal government.