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Over the past ten years, the Federal Aviation Administration has approved the Cape Wind project, which would create wind jobs by erecting turbines off the coast of Massachusetts, no less than three times. Despite having won repeated approval, Cape Wind has come under scrutiny again, this time by House Republicans Darrell Issa and John Mica.
The basis for this round of questions is whether or not the wind turbines are really safe for airplanes. Most planes are equipped with transponders, which allow air traffic controllers to determine their location. But for planes that aren’t, radar signals bouncing off the turbines could create a lot of virtual “noise” to confuse air traffic controllers.
Issa and Mica ask whether this won’t create confusion for pilots that fly by sight. They also question whether the FAA approved the project because of political pressure. Having obtained internal FAA documents, they refer to a seeming lack of confidence among employees. In 2010 one manager said, “It would be very difficult politically to refuse approval of this project.”
Issa and Mica have demanded the release of all communications about Cape Wind between the FAA, the White House, the Cape Wind project itself, and other federal officials by July 31.
That’s going to be a lot of emails, memos and papers to round up.
Cape Wind spokesman Mark Rogers said that the only opposition to the project that would create clean energy and wind jobs comes from its political opponents.
The Cape Wind project is on track to create up to a thousand wind jobs, at least one-hundred and fifty of them permanent. These wind jobs should begin to affect Massachusetts workers by 2013, and keep them working until 2015 when the project is completed.
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