Feds to push Atlantic wind-energy sites

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The Obama administration announced a plan to speed the development of wind energy by searching the Atlantic Coast for the most desirable places to build windmills rather than wait for developers to propose sites that could hurt the environment or sit in the middle of a shipping lane.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said the policy change is the result of "a lesson learned" from the grueling fight over the Cape Wind project to place wind turbines in Massachusetts' scenic Nantucket Sound.

Nick Loris, a research associate in energy and environment at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said that although the new initiative sounds good, it will face challenges.

"Wherever you go, there will be hurdles to jump over," Loris said.

Wind energy development will hurt scenic landscapes and drive up utility costs, he said. "It would take 59 Cape Wind projects to be equivalent to one offshore natural gas project. You're talking about a lot of projects up the coast."

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