Interior Secretary wants to spur wind development

WASHINGTON – Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says he wants to spur offshore wind projects in the Atlantic Ocean by expediting permits and identifying promising areas for wind power.

At a speech in Baltimore, Salazar said he will institute a ``smart permitting process'' that could result in leases issued within two years, instead of approvals that take as long as seven years.

Just last month, Salazar and developers of the nation's first offshore wind farm signed a lease launching the 130-turbine Cape Wind project. The agreement followed an eight-year federal review of the project, which faced intense opposition.

Salazar says federal and state leaders will also work over the next two months to identify promising areas for wind development along the East Coast from Massachusetts to Virginia.