Sacred Land News
The federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation has recommended that the U.S. Department of the Interior reject a proposal for the country’s first offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound, saying it would have ”destructive” effects on dozens of nearby historic properties, including Native American cultural sites.
In seven pages of comments sent to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on April 2, the council backed claims by two Wampanoag Indian tribes that the Cape Wind project would obstruct their view of the rising sun and the ocean, interfering with rituals and ceremonies, and potentially disturb sacred burial sites on the now-submerged shoal on which the turbines would be built.
”The indirect and direct effects of (Cape Wind) on the collection of historic properties would be pervasive, destructive and, in the instance of seabed construction, permanent,” the council said.
The council also criticized federal agencies — including the Minerals Management Service, the lead agency reviewing the project — for their ”tentative, inconsistent and late” consultation with the Wampanoag tribes.
An excerpt of a recent statement by Cedric Cromwell, chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe reads: “We have repeatedly raised serious concerns over the proposed project for more than six years. For the first time, we believe that our concerns are being heard, and we look forward to continuing the process of consultation until an acceptable outcome has been achieved. This process is long overdue, and we thank Secretary Salazar and President Obama for their commitment to the rights of Native Americans.”
Opponents of the project included the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, who fought Cape Wind up to the months before he died last year of brain cancer.
Salazar must respond to the council’s comments before making his final ruling on the project, expected by the end of April. To learn more, read the April 2 New York Times story and see the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head website.
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