Obama faces tough choice on Cape Cod wind farm

Jan 26 02:37 PM US/Eastern
Associated Press Writer 35 Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama's enthusiasm for alternative energy is being buffeted by two political forces on opposite sides of plans to build the nation's first offshore wind farm off Cape Cod. A leading foe of the $1 billion project is Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., an early and influential backer of Obama's presidential bid. A strong proponent is Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a close friend of Obama and a source for some of his best campaign speech lines.

The plan to erect 130 giant turbines across 25 miles of federal waters in Nantucket Sound poses an early test of the president's energy policy, on stark display Monday with Obama's order to re-examine whether California and other states should be allowed to have tougher auto emission standards to combat a build up of greenhouse gases and his directive for the government to get moving on new fuel-efficiency guidelines for the auto industry.

In the final days of George W. Bush's tenure, the Minerals Management Service issued a report saying the wind farm project poses no major environmental problems, clearing the way for the Obama administration to make a final decision on whether to issue a lease for the project. Reviews by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Interior Department's inspector general are still pending.