Massachusetts SHPO decision puts brakes on Cape Cod wind farm proposal

BOSTON — The nation's first offshore wind farm faces more delay after a top Massachusetts historic preservation officer said that two Indian tribes' claim to Nantucket Sound needed more study.

The decision by Brona Simon, executive director of the Massachusetts Historical Society, means final approval for the Cape Wind project, proposed in 2001, will be delayed by weeks and perhaps months.

Cape Wind seemed near final approval after it passed a major environmental review in January, but that's been delayed by the Wampanoag tribes in Mashpee and Martha's Vineyard.

The tribes argue the entire sound is eligible for a listing on the National Register of Historic Places as their "traditional cultural property."

The Wampanoags say they need that protection because Cape Wind's 130 turbines will be visible several miles away on the horizon, destroying their ancient rituals, which require an unblocked view of the sunrise.

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