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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — The US Department of Interior has reduced the areas of the Atlantic Ocean where turbines can be built, dealing a potential blow to North Carolina’s hopes for wind farms off the coast.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management approved just one-fourth of the ocean waters it had been considering for wind farm development, leaving most of the sea regions off-limits. The decision leaves open about 480 square miles of ocean, down from the 1,900 square miles that had been considered.

Most of the reduction impacts the Outer Banks near Manteo, Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk. Two sections across from Wilmington were largely left intact.

Further reductions are a possibility if an upcoming environmental assessment identifies conflicts with natural habitats and wildlife.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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