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Feds scale back Mass. area for wind development

May 2, 2011

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BOSTON—Federal officials are reducing the area they have set aside for developers to build offshore wind farms in rich fishing grounds about 14 miles off Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement had originally set aside a 2,900 square mile-area for commercial wind energy leasing. The region has strong winds and is close to heavily populated coastal areas with high demand for power. It also contains rich scallop grounds and important spawning areas for flounder.

But the agency said on Monday that feedback from Massachusetts commercial fishermen, Gov. Deval Patrick's office and the congressional delegation convinced it to reduce the area under consideration.

The agency has not yet identified the final location that may be offered for leasing or wind farm development.