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Cape, Islands leaders say they need more time to consider offshore wind for Outer Cape

An association that represents 22 towns on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket is asking for more time to comment on plans for offshore wind lease areas off the Outer Cape.

The Cape and Islands Municipal Leaders Association sent questions to federal regulators in a six-page letter on Tuesday.

Doug Brown, the association president and a Select Board member in Falmouth, said communities need more information.

“I don't currently know enough about it to have an informed opinion,” he said. “So that's why we asked for the extended comment period, so we could take a little bit more time and think about how it might impact us.”

Unless the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management grants the three-week extension the group requested, the comment period on proposed areas for lease to wind developers ends July 1.

The Biden administration has proposed leasing eight wind areas in the Gulf of Maine, starting 25 miles off Cape Cod.

In the letter, the group asked for details on offshore substations and the potential effect on wildlife and habitat, among other concerns.

Brown said some members are concerned about “wake action” from waves hitting the base of floating turbines.

“That's above my pay grade,” he said. “I'm not a scientist, but I'm just saying that that's what I found to be an important part of the questions about the project.”

He was among a few local officials to say some Cape residents are just learning that several of the Gulf of Maine wind areas are closer to Cape Cod than to Maine.

“By the name, I assumed it was something for somebody in Maine to think about,” he said. “I didn't realize the fact that, of the eight proposed lease areas, six of them are right off Cape Cod.”

The group also wants to see images of what the turbines would look like at night, during periods when lights come on for passing aircraft.

Blinking red lights at Vineyard Wind are supposed to shut off when no aircraft are near, but the system is not yet operating.

Find the documents with the original simulated images here:

Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to CAI.