By ANDREW MIGA of the Associated Press
WASHINGTON – Federal officials on Monday agreed to a request by two Indian tribes for special protections for Nantucket Sound, a move that could delay construction of a proposed wind farm off Cape Cod.
The National Park Service said the sound is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places due to its significance as a traditional cultural, historic and archaeological property.
The Mashpee and Aquinnah Wampanoag tribes say the designation, which would come with new regulations for activity on the sound, is needed to preserve the tribe’s sacred rituals.
The Wampanoag — the tribe that welcomed the Pilgrims in the 17th century and is known as “the people of the first light” — practice sacred rituals requiring an unblocked view of the sunrise. That view won’t exist if the Cape Wind project’s turbines, each over 400 feet tall, are built several miles from the Cape Cod shore. The turbines would be visible to Wampanoag in Mashpee and on Martha’s Vineyard.