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Federal judge dismisses lawsuit to block Cape Wind project

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Friday filed by opponents of the controversial Cape Wind project, finding that the plaintiffs were constitutionally prohibited from suing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in federal court.

In January, the Town of Barnstable, three Cape Cod businesses, and the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound — Cape Wind’s biggest opponent — filed a lawsuit in US District Court in Boston, contending that the state had discriminated against out-of-state utility companies by pressuring NStar to buy power from the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm.

Opponents said NStar agreed to pay a high price for power from Cape Wind to gain state approval for NStar’s merger with Northeast Utilities.

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Cape Wind President Jim Gordon lauded the ruling by US District Judge Richard Stearns.

“This important legal victory provides further momentum for Cape Wind to secure project financing and produce the energy, economic, and environmental benefits to the region and the United States by launching a domestic offshore wind industry,” Gordon said.

Audra Parker, president of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, said opponents plan to appeal and wage other challenges related to the project’s environmental impact.

“We will continue to fight this,” she said.