Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Wind and The Sound

Cape Wind Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has promised Cape Cod a decision on a proposed wind farm off its coast:

Calling the nearly decade-long review of Cape Wind a "bad process" for everyone involved, Salazar said certainty was now required. U.S. Minerals Management Service — a division of the Interior Department — is the lead federal agency to review Cape Wind, leaving the final decision on permitting the project in Salazar's hands.

After years of following Yucca Mountain, we have no problem brushing off NIMBY arguments – if you’re part of the American community, you should be willing to accommodate larger needs. But Yucca Mountain is essentially invisible – it’s nowhere near people – and Cape Wind will be quite visible. So there is a difference in quality if not kind, though that doesn’t increase our sympathy all that much.

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The effort to turn back Cape Wind has picked up some interesting parties:

Salazar and Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk first met with members of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah). The tribes have argued that the Sound contains important archeological sites and is crucial to their religious practices. That contention is bolstered by the recent finding of the Massachusetts Historical Commission and the National Park Service that the Sound is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

And we have to say that the Cape Codders have been doing what should be done in NIMBY stories – proposing a workable alternative:

Alliance president and CEO Audra Parker suggested an alternative site for the wind farm south of Tuckernuck Island that was already part of the federal government's review of the wind farm. Salazar said such a move would require the permitting process to begin all over again.

Parker doesn’t agree and we don’t know how the Tuckernuck Islanders (it’s owned by the people who have homes there – about 35 of them – and not accessible to the general public) feel about it, but Parker makes her case in an op-ed in The Boston Globe:

As people committed to the environment, opponents recognize the need to find new, sustainable ways to generate power, but we do not believe that livelihoods and sacred grounds need to be destroyed in the process. That is why we will ask Salazar to help locate an equivalent-sized wind project at an alternative location called South of Tuckernuck Island, in federal waters southwest of Nantucket.

But let’s not assume everyone, even on Cape Cod, find this agreeable:

Make no bones about it: When the Alliance demands that Cape Wind move its wind farm to Tuckernuck Island it is not proposing a reasonable alteration to the project. No, this is a cynical cover for the real goal: To kill Cape Wind pure and simple.

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Finally, The New York Times story on Cape Wind tries a prediction:

Although [Salazar] gave no explicit clue to his intentions on Cape Wind at Wednesday’s briefing, he did say that pushing renewable energy was one of President Obama’s top priorities. And his sense of urgency on reaching a decision on Cape Wind appeared to be a sign that he was leaning toward approving it.

So we’ll see, apparently quite soon.

From 2005: Greenpeace sending a message to Robert Kennedy Jr., presumably on that bigger boat. The sign says “Bobby, you are on the wrong boat. Say yes to Cape Wind.” Well, fair’s fair: here’s Greenpeace’s page on Cape Wind.

1 comment:

ABison said...

For some weird funny reason the Greenpeace activist do not use the windpower they advocate by themselves, but they have a gasoline powered boat.

Why could that be?