Jay Wickersham

Document Type

Symposium Article


The review of the 420-megawatt Cape Wind project proposed for Nantucket Sound, being conducted under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA), challenges existing environmental review laws and programs. First, the review shows how NEPA and MEPA can provide a forum for crystallizing government policy; here, on siting and reviewing offshore wind power projects. Second, the review raises concerns that in creating a system of planning and regulating the ocean, we might zone out renewable energy projects, the way we have allowed affordable housing and other social needs to be zoned out of the land. Finally, the Cape Wind review dramatizes how our cult of wilderness, with is presumption that human actions always harm the natural environment, can impede the development of a truly sustainable approach to environmental law and policy.