Critics of the Cape Wind offshore, green-energy project in Massachusetts are continuing their opposition -- following the release of documents they say appear to suggest the Obama administration approved the project despite safety concerns.
The project in Nantucket Sound was given the green light in 2010 by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, making Cape Wind the first offshore wind farm in U.S. history, despite opposition for more than a decade over environmental, safety and historical concerns. Construction on the project has yet to begin.
The documents were obtained by Audra Parker, of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. “This project is a perfect example of a green agenda at any cost and it absolutely deserves the scrutiny of a congressional investigation,” she said.
Parker obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act request to the FAA.
She thinks they show a pattern of political pressure that led the Federal Aviation Administration to fast track the project amid concerns that the more than 400-foot-high turbines would pose a risk to private and commercial air flights.
The documents include internal 2009 FAA emails.
Florida GOP Rep. Cliff Stearns, who led the investigation into the failure of the taxpayer-supported solar company Solyndra, is calling for a probe.
"I think the Cape Wind project is something similar to Solyndra in the sense there's a lot of pressure from the White House in fact the emails came from the FAA that I have seen obviously shows the White House is pushing the FAA for political reasons," he said.
The White House dismissed Stearns latest accusations.
Cape Wind spokesperson Mark Rodgers says the project has been thoroughly vetted.
“Cape Wind has been through the most comprehensive review of any power facility in the history of the Northeast U.S.,” he said. “So if we're on any kind of fast track I'd hate to see the slow track.”
The FAA is again reviewing the project after a federal appeals court overturned the agency's October 2011 ruling that the 130 proposed turbines posed 'no hazard' to aviation.
Rodgers thinks the FAA will once more rule in Cape Wind's favor regardless of political pressure from opponents.