Document Type

Symposium Article


Wind power may greatly reduce overall emissions of air pollutants from fossil fuel plants. Benefits could range from fewer premature deaths to reduced global warming, and cover the gamut of goals that the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) articulates. Previous NEPA reviews of wind projects, however, have focused on local aesthetic objections and given only cursory treatment to emission reductions. This imbalance threatens to frustrate, rather than further, NEPA’s goals. Beginning with the offshore wind farm proposed near Cape Cod, Massachusetts, reviewers must accord the prominence and depth of treatment to emission offset benefits that NEPA requires. Local aesthetic preferences must not be permitted to overshadow broad regional benefits.