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Why This Matters: The Vineyard Wind project will be the first large offshore wind project in the U.S. and it was getting close to final approval when the Trump Administration insisted this extra environmental review, even though the entire purpose of the project is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by bringing more renewable power online. This decision represents a significant double standard — with fossil fuel drilling, coal mining and pipelines building, for which the Administration has repeatedly loosened the requirements for environmental reviews even though these activities all lead to more greenhouse gas emissions. And the delays could cause the project to lose important tax incentives to build it that will expire later this year. Fortunately, the investors in the Vineyard Wind Project remain committed to its completion. There are legitimate environmental issues to be addressed by the Vineyard Wind developers in order to ensure minimal impacts on the marine environment, but this additional environmental review seems excessive and it is hard to imagine that there will be no political interference by the Trump Administration.
Cumulative Impact Is the Issue
According to Inside Climate News, the environmental review of the project that was completed in February concluded that “the cumulative impact of seven other proposed offshore wind farms … would not pose significant risk to air and water quality and marine life.”
Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, told Inside Climate News that “demanding a major expansion after publication of the draft EIS is very unusual and smacks of the sort of bureaucratic impediments to development that Trump campaigned against.”
Other Massachusetts Offshore Wind Projects Still Going Forward
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