The Winds of Nantucket


One of the more interesting aspects of liberal behavior is what happens when their direct interests are affected by a piece of legislation or even a local ordinance.  If their own lives will be discomfited in any way, they are none too ready to make the sacrifices they call upon the rest of us to make in the name of their progressive politics.

This is glaringly on display in the case of the Nantucket Wind Turbines project ( titled Cape Wind).  For nine long years,  Jim Gordon of Energy Management, Inc.  has been attempting to build a wind farm on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound, six miles offshore from Cape Cod.  The company has proposed building 130 wind turbines on the shoal  which will produce up to 420 megawatts of renewable energy.  In average winds, Cape Wind will provide three quarters of the Cape’s and  surrounding islands’ electricity needs.

A great idea, no?   I mean, what liberal could possibly resist the construction of a facility for  a renewable energy source which promises to at least partially alter this bluest of blue  liberal states’ dependence on fossil fuels?

Well the problem is that the turbines would be erected within eyesight of the Kennedy Family’s Hyannisport family compound on Cape Cod, transforming this much needed alternative energy project into a much feared eyesore.  No Kennedy naturally wants  to get up inthe morning  and have his or her Atlantic Ocean vista ruined by a series of ugly wind turbines spinning incessantly on the horizon.

Desperate to stave off the construction of the project, the Kennedys  and many of their super wealthy compadres on the Sound  have now enlisted  the local  Wampanoag tribes to declare the entirety of Nantucket Sound a “traditional cultural property.”  The Wampanoag tribes claim they have a religious duty to view the sun rise over a flat aquatic horizon.   Its too really too bad for the Wampanoag  that they are rarely seen lined up in the morning on the oceanside watching the sunrise.  Their claim has been treated with scorn by environmentalists and conservatives alike.

There is some reason to believe that the Wampanoag have been dragooned into service by the project’s main opposition group, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. The Alliance includes many local people but has been largely underwritten by wealthy homeowners from Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod who hate the idea of having 440-foot windmills on the horizon.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. , who is not only a scion of the famous Kennedy family but one of the most prominent environmental activists in the country, remains adamantly opposed to the project. He wrote in a New York Times editorial in 2005:

“All of us need periodically to experience wilderness to renew our spirits and reconnect ourselves to the common history of our nation, humanity and to God. The worst trap that environmentalists can fall into is the conviction that the only wilderness worth preserving is in the Rocky Mountains or Alaska. To the contrary, our most important wildernesses are those that are closest to our densest population centers, like Nantucket Sound.”

Since then he has come under withering attack from not only conservatives but environmental groups, bitterly disappointed by his hyposcrisy.   His uncle, the late Edward M. Kennedy, was no less of an opponent, said in April, 2006:

”We had an opportunity to right a wrong,” he said of the provision in the Coast Guard bill, he sponsored. ”The people who ought to be irate should  be the citizens of Massachusetts. I don’t shrink from my advocacy for them. I welcome it. I’m going to continue to make sure that . . . a wealthy developer is not going to ride roughshod over the state’s interests.”

His Senate bill to block the construction of the wind farm was never passed.

Much of the objections to the project from the locals – that it will harm tourism, fishing and will intefere with communications and with naval navigation, have been consistently rebutted by the project’s proponents, as well as numerous environmental groups.

So much for alternative energy advocacy.   I have no opinion on the efficiency of the wind farms nor their likely benefit in creating clean, renewable energy.  But I do have to admit  that its kind of interesting to see the global warming alarmists duking it out among themselves.   Their quest to save the planet from the depredations of man-made global warming, seems to have given way, at least in this instance, to bickering over scenic views.

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2 Responses to The Winds of Nantucket

  1. RON BEATY says:

    As a colonial-rooted Cape Cod native who firmly believes in the sanctity of our maritime heritage, I am writing to ardently express my steadfast support for the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. Based upon sensible logic, data and reasoning, I am also conversely opposed to the controversial Cape Wind Project which seeks to despoil and rob us of the pristine nautical legacy bestowed by our forefathers. As a result of the likely profound damaging regional financial, ecological and public safety consequences Cape Wind would wrought upon us all, it should not be allowed to proceed forward to fruition.

    The project poses a cogent danger to essential air and sea navigation. Siting the project in Nantucket Sound is a breach of the public trust. Contrary to their sham claims, the cost of the electricity which the project will produce would not be cheap or competitive. It would be an unbearable fiscal burden hoisted upon us without our sanction or consent. Furthermore, it will represent a deleterious local economic blow by it’s absconding of undeserved taxpayer-funded subsidies, forced real estate devaluations, and lost revenues from commercial and tourism activities. The proposed one hundred thirty wind turbines will perpetually cause unsightly visual contamination and distressing noise pollution. Finally, Cape Wind will unnecessarily endanger a critical marine and wildlife habitat.

    Off-shore deep water wind has surfaced as a cost-effective and technologically feasible option in lieu of the Nantucket Sound situated Cape Wind Project. Cape Wind has chosen a location which possesses countless expenses as well as hazards to public safety, the marine environment, and the local economy. Deeper-water sites offer more powerful winds and the advantages of clean renewable energy without surrendering the irreplaceable natural beauty of Nantucket Sound.

    More distantly sited off-shore locations guarantee the advantages of clean wind power without many of the harmful effects of close-shore siting. Furthermore, there would be little harmful impact upon air and marine navigational safety and local tourist-based economies.

    In 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) estimated a total off-shore wind energy resource of over 1000 GW. The potential for deep water locations greater than 30 m (or 100 feet) is enormous. Approximately ninety percent of the off-shore wind potential in the United States resides in deep water.

    With the aforesaid thoughtful rationales in mind, along with the inherently unfair and inequitable nature of the proposed Cape Wind Project itself, it must not become a reality which will forever doom our children and grandchildren to a ghastly socially inhumane legacy.

    Ron Beaty
    West Barnstable, MA

  2. Saw your blog bookmarked on Delicious.

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