Chairmen Issa, Mica probe if wind farm decision was political

Senior House Republicans are asking the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) whether it faced political pressure from Obama administration officials to determine that a planned coastal wind farm off Massachusetts would not pose a danger to airplanes.

Chairmen Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and John Mica (R-Fla.), in a new letter to FAA’s acting administrator, seek copies of communications between FAA, other federal agencies, developer Cape Wind and the White House, according to the Associated Press.

Issa chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, while Mica heads the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The letter asks whether FAA was influenced by politics, including the Interior Department’s 2010 green light for the Cape Wind project and the Obama administration’s broader push for green energy, AP reports.

“A politically based determination of the Cape Wind project by FAA is an unacceptable use of federal authority,” the letter states.

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) are also looking into the project following the release of a 2010 FAA document in which a manager noted, “It would be very difficult politically to refuse approval of this project.”

But Cape Wind spokesman Mark Rodgers noted to AP that the project won approval after reviews by GOP and Democratic administrations, and that FAA has signed off repeatedly.

“The only politics being applied to this important clean energy project has been and continues to be on the part of project opponents,” he said of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, which has long battled Cape Wind.

FAA must make another ruling after a court overturned a prior clearance, the AP story notes.