* Cape Wind fight may be finally winding down
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is expected to rule this month on Cape Wind, a proposal to invest more than $1 billion placing 130 wind-powered turbines in Nantucket Sound. A federal advisory council recommended on April 2 that Salazar reject the project because of the “destructive” effects on historic sites.
Bloomberg lays out the interests involved the decade-long dispute: “Leaders of 3,200 Wampanoag Indians with roots in Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard say Cape Wind’s turbine blades, reaching 440 feet into the air, would desecrate the view of the sunrise that’s essential to their prayer ceremonies. A month before Democrat Kennedy died on Aug. 25, he wrote to Obama imploring him to halt action on the wind farm, which would be visible from the senator’s home.”
Former Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham sees a classic case of Nimbyism and a threat to the administration's goals for renewable energy development.
“When we talk about what’s made America’s energy policies so challenging to devise it’s in no small measure this whole not-in-my-backyard sentiment,” Abraham said in an interview with Bloomberg.
* Auditors fault oil and gas royalty program
From the Los Angeles Times’ Greenspace blog: “The federal government's efforts to ensure accurate measurement of oil and gas being extracted from federal lands is ‘ineffective and inefficient,’ raising questions about whether petroleum companies are paying proper royalties, a government audit has found."
Government Accountability Office faulted the Interior Department for not updating some of its measurement standards in two decades, for falling behind current technologies, and for failing to meet inspection and calibration goals aimed at maintaining accurate measurements.
The government received $6.5 billion in royalties last year.
* Sen. Lautenberg to unveil rewrite of nation’s chemical laws
The Washington Post has an early look at how Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) plans to overhaul the nation’s chemical laws.
Lautenberg’s plan would require manufacturers to prove the safety of chemicals before they enter the marketplace. “That would be a significant departure from current laws, which allow chemicals to be used unless the federal government can prove they cause harm to health or the environment,” the Post reports.
More from the Post: “Under current laws, the government has little or no information about the risks of most chemicals in use. The government cannot act unless a chemical poses a health threat, but the EPA cannot force companies to provide data that show risks.”