Contractor presents radar study findings to waterway stakeholders

BOSTON – An independent contractor hired by the Coast Guard to determine the effects that wind turbines in Nantucket Sound may have on the operation of marine radars presented its findings today to the Southeastern Massachusetts Harbor Safety and Security Forum.

The Coast Guard hired Technology Service Corporation to conduct the radar study after two separate reports reached differing conclusions. The two reports were completed on behalf of Cape Wind Associates and the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound.

Coast Guard Headquarters will submit the Coast Guard’s recommendation to the Minerals Management Service, the approval agency for the Cape Wind project, by Jan. 15, 2009.

“The Coast Guard’s responsibility is to determine whether or not the area can remain safely navigable if MMS approves the wind farm,” said Capt. Liam Slein, of the First Coast Guard District. “It is a responsibility the Coast Guard does not take lightly and the Commandant requested more time to fully consider the report briefed today and the wind farm’s potential impact on navigation safety.”

No formal public comment period is associated with today’s briefing. The public comment period closed in April, but a new opportunity for public comment will exist when MMS publishes its Final Environmental Impact Statement.

The Coast Guard is one of more than a dozen federal agencies making recommendations to the MMS.

The Coast Guard, whose primary role is to assess navigational safety issues associated with the Cape Wind project, has worked extensively with waterway users to develop an assessment of the project’s potential impact on navigation safety.

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