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Home arrowNews arrowPublic Invited to Comment on the Effects of the Cape Wind Energy Project on Historic Properties

Public Invited to Comment on the Effects of the Cape Wind Energy Project on Historic Properties

WHAT: On March 1, 2010, the Secretary of the Interior terminated consultation under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) regarding the Cape Wind Energy project in Nantucket Sound on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) offshore of Massachusetts. The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) is required to issue advisory comments to the federal agency within 45 days of a termination. In order to assist us in preparing these comments, the ACHP held a public meeting in Cape Cod on March 22, 2010 to receive stakeholder and public comment on the effects of the project on historic properties.

BACKGROUND: The Minerals Management Service (MMS), a bureau of the Department of the Interior (DOI), is in the final stages of review of a permit application to construct the Cape Wind project, which consists of 130 440-foot-tall wind turbine generators, on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound on the OCS. As part of that review process, MMS must comply with Section 106 of the NHPA and its implementing regulations, “Protection of Historic Properties” (36 CFR 800), which require that federal agencies take into account the effects of undertakings they sponsor, permit, or assist on historic properties. Agencies do so by following a process set forth in the Section 106 regulations that includes the identification of historic properties that might be affected,  assessment of effects to historic properties, and consultation to resolve (avoid, minimize, or mitigate) any adverse effects. The Section 106 process requires that federal agencies consult State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs), applicants, Indian tribes, and others who have an interest in the project and its effects on historic properties to identify appropriate opportunities to resolve these effects.

The project has been controversial from its inception, and many stakeholders and members of the public have expressed concerns about the effects of the project on the unique setting of Nantucket Sound, a property determined eligible to the National Register as a place of significance to Indian tribes, and the many historic properties and districts that face the Sound from islands and the mainland, including two National Historic Landmarks: the Nantucket Historic District and the Kennedy Compound.

On March 1, 2010, the DOI determined that agreement on how to resolve adverse effects to these historic properties could not be reached among consulting parties, and requested that the ACHP provide comments in order to conclude the Section 106 review process. A panel of ACHP members will issue comments to the head of the agency within 45 days of the request. Once the head of the agency considers the ACHP comments and responds to them in accordance with the ACHP’s regulations and Section 110(l) of the NHPA, MMS will have concluded the legal requirements of the Section 106 process and may make a final decision on the project. The head of the agency must provide a summary of the decision that contains a rationale for the decision and evidence of consideration of the ACHP’s comments, providing a copy of the summary to the ACHP and all consulting parties, and notifying the public.

WHO: Under its Section 106 responsibilities, the ACHP has convened a five-member panel to receive testimony from the MMS, the Section 106 consulting parties, other stakeholders, and the public in preparation of its final comments on this action. The ACHP panel will conduct a public meeting to provide the opportunity to address the ACHP on the undertaking’s effects on historic properties and any measure to avoid, minimize, or mitigate adverse effects on those properties. Interested parties may also submit written comments via mail and e-mail. Following the meeting, the ACHP will provide its comments to the Secretary of the Interior no later than April 14, 2010. Please note that the purpose of the Section 106 review and this public meeting is to address the historic preservation aspects of the proposed Cape Wind project exclusively.

WHEN: March 22, 2010, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Tilden Auditorium at Cape Cod Community College, 2240 Iyannough Road, West Barnstable, MA 02668. For driving directions see the college Web site at In the event that weather precludes the panel from meeting, the meeting will be rescheduled for March 29.

WRITTEN COMMENTS: The ACHP welcomes written comments from any party. Comments may be submitted to the ACHP and sent by e-mail to:, or fax comments to 202-606-5072. Mailed comments should be sent to Dr. John T., Eddins, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Room 803, Washington, DC 20004. All comments submitted by 5 p.m. March 29, 2010, will be part of the public record and reviewed by the ACHP prior to the transmittal of its formal comments.

ABOUT THE ACHP: The ACHP, an independent federal agency, promotes the preservation, enhancement, and productive use of the nation’s historic resources, and advises the President and Congress on national historic preservation policy. It also provides a forum for influencing federal activities, programs, and policies that impact historic properties. In addition, the ACHP has a key role in carrying out the Preserve America program. See for more information.

For more specific information on the Section 106 process and the role of the ACHP, please see For more information on this case e-mail For media inquiries, contact Bruce Milhans at

Contact: Bruce Milhans
For Immediate Release
March 5, 2010

ACHP to Gather Public Comments, Issue Recommendations on Cape Wind Project

WASHINGTON – The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) is preparing final comments to present to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar regarding its recommendations on historic preservation issues relating to the proposed Cape Wind Energy Project in Nantucket Sound, Massachusetts.

To assist the ACHP’s efforts, it will hold a public meeting on March 22 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Tilden Auditorium at Cape Cod Community College in West Barnstable, Mass.  It will also accept written comments until March 29.

As a key part of this process, ACHP Chairman John L. Nau, III, has created a five-member panel to oversee development of recommendations. The panel will review the case, make a site visit to the area and gather public comment before providing ACHP final comments to Secretary Salazar not later than April 14, 2010.

The action comes in the wake of Secretary Salazar’s March 1 decision to terminate the Section 106 process of the National Historic Preservation Act. That provision requires federal agencies to consider the impacts of their actions or undertakings on properties listed, or eligible for listing, on the National Register of Historic Places. The secretary’s decision was made because consulting parties were not able to come to agreement and, in his judgment, were unlikely to reach consensus. The ACHP has 45 calendar days to provide its final comments on historic preservation and Section 106 issues when termination of consultation occurs in a Section 106 case.

The project involves the construction and operation of 130 wind turbine generators to be built in a 24-square-mile area on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound. It will have an adverse effect on 34 historic properties, including two National Historic Landmarks (the Nantucket Historic District and the Kennedy Compound), 26 other historic structures or districts that are listed on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, and six properties of religious and cultural significance to tribes, including Nantucket Sound, that have been determined eligible for the National Register.
For more information or if you are a member of the media, contact Bruce Milhans at

Updated April 2, 2010

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