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New Massachusetts governor backs Cape Wind offshore project

The beleaguered developer of the Cape Wind offshore wind project will soon have one less opponent: its own state governor. Among the political reshuffling in last month's elections, Massachusetts voters elected Deval Patrick to office as the first Democratic governor in 16 years. He is a vocal proponent for the wind station off the Massachusetts' coast, unlike outgoing Governor Mitt Romney, who opposed it. The project has attracted fierce and well funded opposition, mainly from owners of coastal holiday homes in the vicinity. "It's certainly helpful," says Mark Rodgers of project developer Cape Wind Associates. "A big concern with the previous governor was that he stated he would use every power in his office to block the project. Now the professionals involved in the permitting process will be able to do their job." Rodgers says Romney's influence could be felt at the Energy Facilities Siting Board where the usual 12 month process took 33 months "because of some of the political appointees at a higher level" on the board. A governor has only limited means to promote or prevent an offshore wind project in federal waters.

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