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Cape Wind Hearings This Week

Backers of a proposal to build 130 windmills across 25 miles of federal waters in Nantucket Sound will get what may be their best, last chance to make their case to federal regulators at a series of four public hearings this week.

The same goes for critics of the project.

The hearings by the federal Minerals Management Service on their draft environmental impact report could be one of the fiercest showdowns to date on the contentious plan by Cape Wind Associates.

The project, which has been working its way through the state and federal regulatory process since November, 2001, has also split the state's top political leaders.

Gov. Deval Patrick, who campaigned to make Massachusetts a leader in renewable energy, says the plan to build the nation's first offshore wind farm is a part of that initiative.

"I support Cape Wind,'' Gov. Deval Patrick said during a recent radio interview. "It's not to say that there aren't thoughtful arguments on the other side, but on balance it makes sense.''

But Sen. Edward Kennedy, whose family's Hyannis Port compound would have a clear view of the farm, is among critics of the plan, who say the windmills would mar a pristine seascape.

This program aired on March 10, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.

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