Because Cape Wind would be the nation's first offshore wind farm, regulations have evolved alongside the proposal. While the company takes credit for helping guide offshore wind policy, project opponents, including Kennedy and a well-financed local opposition group, argue that a framework should be in place before Cape Wind is even considered.
Kennedy's office released a statement downplaying Cape Wind's positive news at the state level:
"The review of the Cape Wind project rests with the Department of the Interior, the Coast Guard and the Department of Defense, which will release their findings in the months ahead," according to the statement. "Sen. Kennedy hopes those agencies will give serious consideration to the safety, maritime, environmental and economic concerns raised by the Cape Wind proposal."
Other issues bothering opponents are the millions of dollars in state and federal subsidies the project would enjoy, as well as any possible impact these enormous turbines may have on military defense and aircraft radar.
Cape Wind's backers say that the turbines offer sufficient mitigation steps -- on top of the benefits of renewable energy -- to outweigh any detriments, a determination Massachusetts made Friday.
Ian Bowles, secretary of environmental affairs in Massachusetts and now a project supporter, ruled that from the state's perspective, Cape Wind clearly provides significant benefits. "In terms of carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas, this is the equivalent of taking 175,000 cars off the road," Bowles said.
The project may also benefit from newly elected Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who made supporting the renewable energy proposal an early cornerstone of his victorious campaign, the views of fellow Democrat Kennedy notwithstanding.
If the debate over Cape Wind in Washington stretches into 2008, Gordon may face another serious hurdle, this one presidential-size.
Former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney shared Kennedy's disdain for the project.