Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sietch lies over CSI poll

The blogoshpere has its share of Cape Wind supporters too - but their posts filled with lies and deceit.

Today, I sent The Naib and his Sietch a letter regarding lies surrounding a Civil Society Institute poll regarding Cape Wind:

Please read below: (It comes from the CSI website too)


Survey results are based on telephone interviews conducted among a sample of 600 adults aged 18 and over living in private households in the Massachusetts. Interviewing was completed by Opinion Research Corporation during the period of July 25-August 2, 2007. Completed interviews of the survey adults were weighted by two variables: age and gender, to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total adult population, including a subset of residents of the Cape/Islands. About nine out of 10 respondents (89 percent) said that they live in Massachusetts somewhere other than the Cape and on the Islands versus 10 percent who said that they do live on the Cape/Islands. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points for the complete sample of 600 adults. Smaller sub-groups will have larger error margins."

So 1 in 10 people surveyed in live on Cape Cod...out of the 600 sampled...this means that CSI based results for the entire Cape and Islands on feedback from 60 people...

I'm sorry to tell you that a poll of 600 people does not carry much statistical significance, much less 60!

I cannot take any of the things you say seriously - all of your assumptions are based on poor statistical analysis.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

"Economics" the backbone of CLEAN POWER NOW

In a recent letter to the editor that appeared in the Cape Cod Times, Clean Power Now executive director Barbara Hill stated the following:
Audra Parker's Aug. 1 letter, "Wind farm boosters careless of facts," is disingenuous at best.
Her pet is the Talisman project consisting of two wind turbines in 150 feet of water off Scotland. The facts: Each 5-megawatt turbine is perched atop a four-legged undersea foundation structure, similar to an oil rig platform. Each platform weighs 1,250 tons, compared with a monopole in shallow water at 180 tons. Talisman powers a nearby oil platform. There is no cable connection to land, because that would have been too expensive.
The total project cost was $61 million, of which $27 million was in government construction subsidies. That works out to $6.1 million per megawatt installed — two to three times the cost of shallow-water projects.
This is not a utility-scale project. In a cautious statement Talisman Energy has said: "Current forecasts for electricity prices will never render this Demonstrator Project economic. It is an R&D project, not a commercial one, and as such requires public sector funding in order to proceed."
We certainly look forward to the development of additional sites such as South of Tuckernuck and other deeper sites as they become viable in the coming decades. Economics is the deciding factor.

Barbara J. Hill

Executive director, Clean Power Now

Hill would have the public believe that the South of Tuckernuck Island alternative site proposed by Cape Wind and Mineral Management Service is not viable because it is in deeper water. The fact of the matter is that this site is perfectly viable. In fact, the wind rating at South of Tuckernuck is a step above Horseshoe Shoal! Projects in Europe are being permitted in depths greater than any at South of Tuckernuck.

Which brings us to the her final statement:

Economics is the deciding factor.

I didn’t realize that environmental not-for-profits were concerned about the market...

Shouldn’t Hill and her friends at CPN focus on proper ocean management and the realization of deep-water technology instead of watching the checkbooks of private developers?

Don’t just take it from me, go to their website:

Ah, yes. “Supporting a clean, healthy environment.”

All this from “A grassroots organization.”

Barbara - I am happy you care more about economics than the environment.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Klaus responds to

Read the initial post on Marathonpundit...

See the response:

I'm curious about your use of the word "NIMBY" because the Cape Wind project that you uphold so ardently is sited in unprotected Federal waters in the heart of Nantucket Sound. I would hardly call that area Ted's or RFK's backyard, that is public trust land that is being taken by a private developer in his for-profit venture. That's everybody's backyard being destroyed by the installation of 130 turbines and a 10-story transformer sub-station.

Few people realize Nantucket Sound is the only place in the continental United States where protected state waters surround unprotected federal waters. This is significant because our inner coastal water way (Nantucket Sound, which is traversed by 3 million people annually) is managed like the outer continental shelf. Opposition to Cape Wind does not mean that people are anti-environmental - it means that some of us believe that there are better ways to manage our ocean and wind resources by siting turbines in areas the will not need to be dredged to allow installation, in areas that are not heavily used by our commercial fishing fleet, in areas away from the ferry routes and shipping lanes...the list goes on.

As I mentioned before, Massachusetts residents have inherited a donut hole of unprotected waters. Most people don't know that all of Nantucket Sound was once protected from industrial development as Cape and Islands State Ocean Sanctuary. This was undone in the 80's when the federal government took back waters outside of the 3-mile state limit as part of Supreme Court case that involved a number of states in the Northeast - Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland and others. This legislation cannot be undone, and has left our coastal waters unprotected and susceptible to utility scale projects such as Cape Wind.

Lest we forget Nantucket Sound has twice been nominated as a National Marine Ocean Sanctuary.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Cape Wind for dummies: Part 1

Just the facts as stated by Cape Wind Associates:

Location of Project: Horseshoe Shoal, Nantucket Sound in Federal Waters

Number of Turbines: 130

Height of Turbines: 440 feet

Diameter of Turbine Pile: 18 feet

Size of Project: 25 square miles

Miles of inner-array cable in project footprint: 66.7 miles

Trench Cross-Section – 3.0 meters squared, or 32 square feet

Acreage of benthic habitat disrupted by cable installation in Federal waters: 773 acres

Percentage of jet-blasted benthos suspended in water column: 30%

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Governor and staff turn a blind eye to fishermen

In a May 24th interview Ian Bowles, Massachusetts Secretary of Environmental Affairs, stated the following in an interview with NPR regarding commercial fishing in Nantucket Sound:

“All we are talking about is a wire that runs through state waters. There weren’t any fishing impacts found in the state review.”

Apparently Bowles has enough foresight to site Cape Wind as an answer to our energy future, but can’t see past three miles when he looks out into the Sound.

It is a shame that Bowles and his boss Deval don’t give a rats ass about our commercial fishing fleet, or the fishermen and their families.

I’m not surprised.

These are the same guys who are accepting 10 million dollars in mitigation monies from the private developer. Apparently this project is not in the public’s interest as Cape Wind would like us to think...Why else would Jim Gordon be coughing up a nice chunk of change to the state? To fund Deval’s plan for free community college?!?

And we can’t forget those commercials Deval ran this past election…Wind turbines spinning effortlessly in the open water.

Since when is it appropriate to base a political campaign on the ill-conceived Cape Wind proposal?

Why Cape Wind should not be possible

Cape Wind’s proposal to construct 130 turbines in the coastal waters off Massachusetts would not have been possible some 20 years ago under Massachusetts state law. Most Cape Wind supporters don’t realize that Nantucket Sound has twice been nominated as a National Marine Ocean Sanctuary, as we designated Cape and Islands State Ocean Sanctuary in the 1970’s.

The designation of state ocean sanctuary ensures that our coastal waters cannot be used for industrial development such as the proposal to place 130 440’ turbines and a 10-story transformer station on Horseshoe Shoal.

In 1986, the Federal Government took back all waters beyond the three mile state limit, and opened the door for Jim Gordon to take public lands for his personal profit.

Why are we willing to sacrifice an area that has already been deemed worthy of protection?

Why is the developer unwilling to move Cape Wind out of Nantucket Sound?

Monday, May 14, 2007

No Data, No Worries

When CapeWind's data tower isn't functioning, just assume that the project would be producing 410mw...

Or be rational and assume that 410mw is a fabrication, and that actual production is much lower during the data tower's malfunction.

This is just more greenwashing from Jim Gordon and Cape Wind Associates LLC.

Light Winds on Nantucket Sound = Lights Out For Massachusetts Residents

This just in from

With the test tower reporting light winds on the Sound, Cape Wind would be producing just 43 mw hours.

Check it out for yourself.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Old News, New News, and Jack Coleman

Klaus is back after a brief hiatus.

While I have been quiet for the past week or so, I have been following press on the proposed wind farm in Nantucket Sound.

That said, it strikes me that the same story Catherine Komp wrote for The New Standard on APRIL 21, 2006 has been sited by two separate sources as “newsworthy” in the past two days! The article, entitled “Cape Cod Wind Farm Could Face Romney Veto” is outdated and subsequently presents misleading information about the current status of one Cape Wind.

The New News:

Mitt Romney is no longer Governor of Massachusetts. Deval Patrick, a Cape Wind supporter, has taken Romney’s office on Beacon Hill.

Minerals Management Service (MMS) has pushed back the release of its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Cape Wind to the fall of 2007. Don’t expect a decision on this project any sooner than 2008. MMS is currently moving toward a formal policy for the siting renewable energy on the outer continental shelf of the United States.

The United States Coast Guard has yet to release any regulations regarding the wind farms as a navigational hazard. This will need to happen before MMS can release its DEIS for Cape Wind.

Recently, project supporter Jack Coleman scoffed at Cape Wind’s claim that no dredging will occur on Horseshoe Shoal. Read his story here, it’s a good one.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Charles Vinick on Cape Wind

Charles Vinick shares the facts on Nantucket Sound and Cape Wind.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Cape Wind buys its way over state hurdle

The recent rubber stamping of Cape Wind’s FEIR on Beacon Hill generated a media buzz that is finally fizzling out. While the Boston Globe, New York Times, Boston Herald, Cape Cod Times, and a series of other news sources ran stories last Friday, the announcement is still making its rounds in the “green news” circuit. The Cape Cod Times gave the story its usual biased coverage, though I bright spot was a piece by Associated Press Writer, Steve LeBlanc. Cape Wind project clears state hurdle got the majority of the facts right: 130 turbines, 25 square miles of public land in federal waters seized by private developer Jim Gordon, each turbine topping 440’. LeBlanc even mentioned that that Cape Wind will negatively affect Cape Cod’s economy, fishing in Nantucket Sound, navigation, and birds.

The crowning disappointment of secretary Bowles ruling was the $10 million state mitigation package.

The package includes $780,000 for the restoration of Bird Island, a prime nesting habitat for terns, $4.2 million for natural resource and marine habitat restoration, and $5.6 million in federal lease payments over 20 years.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the geography of southern New England, Bird Island is situated in Buzzards Bay, a water sheet of spanning 280 miles of shoreline. Not to be confused with Nantucket Sound, the place where Cape Wind Associates LLC plan to construct their industrial park. Interesting how the state mitigation package specifically sites Bird Island, but generalizes the rest of the funds will be spent. Nantucket Sound and the communities on Cape Cod would be the biggest losers with this project comes to pass, yet the monies for mitigation are being diverted to other areas of the Commonwealth.

I guess it makes sense to restore breeding populations of Terns outside of Nantucket Sound considering that more birds in Nantucket Sound would mean more bird kills by Cape Wind and that would only generate bad press. Jim Gordon wouldn’t like that.

I did some algebra.

An inadequate FEIR + $10 mitigation = “Adequate”

For all those raving about the new administration, consider them bought. Beacon Hill might as well be Tammany Hall with Patrick in office.

Apparently Nantucket Sound is for sale. Time to take down my lawn sign?

Not a chance.

Friday, March 30, 2007

MA Senator John Kerry takes stand against CapeWind

It appears that Massachusetts Senator John Kerry has finally joined fellow Senator Ted Kennedy and Representative Bill Delahunt in opposition to the construction of 130 440’ turbines in the heart of Nantucket Sound.

Kerry was questioned about his stance at the New England Newspaper Association Convention held in Boston on March 16.
I think there are some larger issues here than just the EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) or now the Coast Guard study, which is going to take place.
It gets better:
“But I’ve always said that I think Senator Kennedy has raised very legitimate issues with respect to the siting process and with respect to location. I’ve also suggested that it’s my opinion that there may even be better locations for it. I’ve sat with Jim Gordon (president of Cape Wind), I’ve sat with the other folks, I’ve met with the Coast Guard people, I’ve tried to do due diligence on it, and I’m not sure there aren’t both windier and, you know, more accessible areas.

“So I am in favor of wind power, but I think we do have to have a siting process. I think we’ve got to have some sort of standard by which these things are going to be put offshore. You can’t do it on an ad hoc basis and just have one private person come in and say ‘Hey, plunk it down here.’ Someone else plunks it down (over there)... . That’s just not a great way to start dealing with national resources. So I think Ted Kennedy’s raised some very legitimate issues.”
Welcome aboard John.

Also see CapeCodOnline.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

RFK Jr. defends Cape Cod from industrial development

At a recent press conference regarding the future of Ethanol Robert F. Kennedy Jr., founder of the Waterkeeper Alliance, was again asked about his stance on wind power in Nantucket Sound. His remarks reflect a keen understanding of competing environmental values.

Of permitting of CapeWind, he remarked:

“Those decisions have to be made by the local community”

Kennedy also voiced concern about the impacts a project would have on community fisherman:

“I’m an opponent to the wind farm in Cape Cod because it will put hundreds of small commercial fishermen out of business.”

He also said that the wind farm could be moved a slight distance for a modest increase in cost, but to a location that would not interfere with the fishing industry at Cape Cod.

“If they move the wind farm, it could be slightly more expensive for the partners,” Kennedy said. “It’s a bad site. It will put hundreds of small fishermen out of business. There are 5.5 million people that use that waterway every year.”

See the entire story on Ethanol at Grainnet.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Cape Wind: the next ANWR?

For some 45 years, oil developers, environmentalists, concerned citizens, and politicians have laid claim to what most will agree to be an uninspiring landscape, the Artic National Wildlife Refuge. For environmentalists, ANWR embodies America’s final stronghold of untamed wilderness and is place worth protecting from development. Meanwhile, the Bush administration and oil investors have sought open the refuge and allow drilling in the name of national security, economic growth, and local and state interests.

Proponents of drilling have held fast to the argument that the drilling equipment and pipeline will only occupy a fraction of the coastal plain, and have downplayed the ecological harm that industrializing ANWR would cause.

Environmentalists have tirelessly argued that oil exploration in ANWR will fundamentally change this landscape forever. In the words of GREENPEACE USA:
‘America's Serengeti’ would become a wasteland of roads, pipelines, drilling platforms and oil spills.
For many Americans, just knowing that a place like ANWR exists is enough reason to save it from oil exploration.

But would those who seek to preserve this place on existence value alone be willing to use the same area to develop clean, renewable energy? Does a wind farm belong in ANWR?

Many environmental groups, including GREENPEACE USA, have come out in support of a large scale industrial wind park in the heart of Nantucket Sound. What they fail to acknowledge is that the ecological destruction they are promoting in Nantucket Sound is the same destruction they are seeking to prevent in ANWR.

Consider the following:

The similarities between the two proposals are striking.
ANWR and Cape Wind have both been proposed on public lands. If ANWR is opened, the oil industry profits. If Cape Wind is permitted in Nantucket Sound (a body of water twice nominated for protection as a National Marine Ocean Sanctuary), Jim Gordon and other investors profit.

Developing ANWR will spoil “America’s Serengeti”, an industrial wind park on horseshoe shoal will forever change what it is to be Nantucket Sound.

Construction at both sites has lasting cumulative impacts on local ecologies.

Both proposals will negative effect migratory routes for birds and animals, and pose serious threats to endangered species.

The presence of tens of thousands of gallons of oil at both locations is a serious threat to wildlife in the event of a spill.

Developers have overstated the energy potential at both sites, misleading the public.

As previously stated, much of the support to save ANWR comes from people who will never travel to see the coastal plain. The knowledge that this place exists is enough for them. If the mere existence of a place warrants saving it, then why would one fail to consider the destruction of Horseshoe Shoal when supporting the Cape Wind project? So you do not think America needs to drill for fossil fuels? Then how about a wind farm for ANWR?

I wonder what GREENPEACE USA would think about all this. Their say is that:
Drilling in our protected lands is not the solution to our energy crisis. Everyone agrees we should be striving for energy independence, but the best way to achieve that is through investing our tax dollars in clean, renewable energy such as solar and wind.
130 440’ turbines on ANWR’s coastal plain would be quite a sight. Getting them there would cause the same destruction (if not more) as oil exploration. Would the benefits of renewable energy outweigh the ecological destruction in ANWR? Does the “green” nature of a project make ecological destruction OK? It shouldn’t. As seen here, there are appropriate locations for industrial energy projects, and there are inappropriate ones.

ANWR should not be home oil drilling or a wind farm. Likewise, Nantucket Sound is not the place for Cape Wind.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Cape Wind...Just 10mw?

Wind Power is unreliable, even when you place 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound. Cape Wind puts a national treasure is at stake, yet "green leaders" want this project fast tracked. I guess I am missing something.

For now, see above...some food for thought.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The future of renewable energy

Last Friday, Minerals Management Service of the Department of Interior released its Draft Programatic Environmnetal Impact Statement for the Outer Continental Shelf. This means that the federal government has taken its first step in formulating national policy for offshore renewables. The outer continental shelf or OCS is commonly defined as waters beyond the 3 mile coastal jurisdiction of states to 200 hundred miles offshore. The following passages appear in the Editorial “A Poor Start” in today's Cape Cod Times.

For five years, we have been promoting an ocean zoning policy, a comprehensive plan to protect certain offshore areas from commercial development. While the commercial development of specific areas of federal waters is appropriate for renewable energy projects, the federal government, in consultation with state and local agencies and other stakeholders, should identify key areas that are off limits to development.

We believe that state and federal governments should zone ocean tracts for the offshore wind industry in a similar way. Just as a power plant would be inappropriate on the Cape Cod National Seashore, a wind farm is inappropriate on Nantucket Sound.

For the entire story, click here.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Proof positive from Klaus to you

For those skeptics out there who do not believe me that Cape Wind supports spin this project as a cure for global warming, I found the following online…
"The Minerals Management Service (MMS) of the Department of Interior has taken over the role of lead federal regulatory agency in the Cape Wind review from the US Army Corps of Engineers as a result of new Congressional authority they received from the Energy Policy Act of 2005. In June, the MMS announced the start of a new Public Comment Period on Cape Wind that will end on July 14. I have added my letter to the MMS below and ask that you take the time to write the MMS with your thoughts NOW or before the 15 of July! PLEASE! >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Dear Sir: I would like to express my thoughts on the essential Cape Wind Project. There is a crisis at hand that probably no scientist can accurately predict called Global Warming! There is probably nothing more benign in view of our energy needs than a wind farm such as CW! I believe Wind Generation is a very important and essential first step to prevent the future destruction that Global Warming will cause. To delay and procrastinate is folly. This is not a nuclear issue but it is a crisis issue. Please allow the Cape Wind project to go forward with all possible haste! Everyone must realize that each MW of electricity that Cape Wind generates is a MW that a coal burning [CO2 pumping] Power Plant does not generate! IT IS TIME TO BEGIN and Cape Wind is RIGHT and NEEDED! Thank you, Robert"

Cape Cod Commission Public Meeting on Cape Wind

At roughly 6:30 tonight, the Cape Cod Commission will be holding a public meeting on the Cape Wind Energy Project Final Environmental Impact Report. The public comments are expected to address the adequacy of Cape Wind’s FEIR, as this document is to guide state agencies through the permitting process.

I suspect that Cape Wind supporters will have nothing productive to add the content of this meeting. I will even venture to say with some certainty that all Cape Wind and Clean Power Now supporters will drone on and on about “how long the FEIR is” and that “5,000 pages in enough” and that “6 years has been long enough”. I would much prefer to hear about specific sections of the FEIR and discuss how they are adequate. Unfortunately for them, that just isn’t possible because the FEIR is an inadequate document. Look at the report on fishing, look at the bird surveys! Look at the whole damn thing!

Despite all of this I am hopeful that project opponents such as the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, Mass Fisherman’s Partnership, and elected officials will come out in full force and share the FEIR’s inadequacies with the Commission. There is plenty to work with.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Cape Wind asks harbormaster to tell fisherman's tale

I know the FEIR that Cape Wind just submitted to the State of Massachusetts is long. 5,000 pages long. But believe me when I say this: You might actually laugh out loud at some of the claims in the document.

To find it, head to the Cape Wind website at From here, take your pick of appendicies. I started with Fishing.

If you head to Appendix D-1 entitled "Survey Fisherman's Comments about the Cape Wind Energy Project" you are in for a real treat. Not only does Cape Wind talk to commercial fisherman, but they also ask our friendly harbormasters and bait and tackle shop employees about the health of fisheries. The following are a few of the ancedotal clips provided by Cape Wind Assoicates.

"Greg Fraser, Falmouth (Harbor Master), has observed no change in species."

Well, either Greg owns his own fishing boat and heads to sea on his days off, or he really has no clue about the state of fisheries in Nantucket Sound. Furthermore, Greg is supposed to be monitoring Vineyard Sound, the waters between Woods Hole and Waquoit Bay. Horseshoe Shoal is no where near there.

I'll get back to you with more fisherman's tales from the FEIR...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Don't Be Fooled...Cape Wind Won't Stop Global Warming

Supporters of the Cape Wind project would have an uninformed public believe that Jim Gordon’s “Vision” of 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound is a serious step towards curbing the effects of global warming. Bottom line is that this project would have negligible effects on curbing global carbon dioxide emissions. Moreover, the looming eco-apocalypse that will swallow Cape Cod whole is already unfolding. If you don’t believe me, check the latest report from the IPCC. We do not need Cape Wind to stop global warming. It is a pipe-dream to begin to think we can stop global warming; its effects will unfold for over the course of this century, and likely spill over into the next. If sea-levels are going to rise, it is not because of the valiant fight put up in opposition to this project, it is because humans have steadily increased emissions of greenhouse gases since the rise of the Industrial Revolution.


All this doomsday talk does not mean that there is no hope, but it should put this debate about the placement of this particular project into context. One industrial power plant in Nantucket Sound will not address global warming. It will ruin a place that has and continues to define Cape Cod and the Islands. It will kill birds and disrupt benthic habitats. It does pose a navigational safety hazard to boat and avian traffic. It will cost taxpayers over a billion dollars in subsidies over the life of the project. Too often this debate is polarized by supporters who define all opposition as NIMBY. I believe that these people do not want to talk about the real issues at hand because they know their oppositions’ issues are legitimate and deserve consideration.

I do not doubt that the United States is in need of offshore-renewable energy, and offshore wind appears to be viable, as illustrated by our neighbors across the pond. When Jim Gordon proposed this project in 2001, it was one of a kind. Little has changed since then, and Cape Wind still stands to become the first off-shore wind farm in the United States. For many, the logical thing to do is to sink our teeth into the promise of offshore wind, and get something in the water. Unfortunately, the public is faced with a false choice when it comes to supporting a particular wind project – there is only one to choose! Why is this? Because Minerals Management Service, the government agency now in charge of writing the rules and regulations for all offshore renewable energy on the outer continental shelf of the United States, is still in its rulemaking process. You wouldn’t start spending your own money building a house that the government could tear down half way through. Can we honestly expect renewable energy developers to waste their own dollars in the same fashion? No. And we shouldn’t. The appropriate course of action is to wait and see what alternatives there are to Cape Wind. This will happen, but we have to be patient.

(photo from cjohnson7)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Demystifying the permitting of offshore wind farms

Wind power, and particularly offshore wind, continues to be cited as a clean and green way to generate electricity. Offshore technology has been realized in Europe, but has met serious opposition (and much support too) in the United States. The permitting process has been a slow and complex here in the United States as illustrated by Cape Wind Associate’s proposal to construct 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound. Though the project began in 2001, it is still over a year away from being permitted. Despite this lengthy time table, now is an opportune time to jump in and examine the complexities of permitting offshore renewable energy in the United States.

Minerals Management Service is the leading federal agency in permitting all offshore renewable energy in United States. States, the US Coast Guard, the FAA, the Department of Defense, and others also have the task of reviewing project proposals. This brings us to the most recent development in the permitting process here in the United States.

The recent release of Cape Wind Associates 5,000 page Final Environmental Impact Review (FEIR) to the state of Massachusetts has come before the release of Minerals Management Service’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) of the project.

This statement may mean nothing to you, but if you are interested in the future of offshore wind power in the United States you should be paying attention.

By releasing their FEIR to the state of Massachusetts, Cape Wind Associates has triggered a 30-day public comment period, which ends in eleven short days (March 22nd 2007). At the end of the comment period, Massachusetts has seven days to decide if the FEIR includes all information relevant to the public and appropriately assesses the scope of the proposed project. If Massachusetts finds the FEIR to be adequate, state agencies will be required to use the FEIR as the guiding document in their permit review.

Though the filing of the FEIR means that the permitting process is moving forward, it seems that Cape Wind is pushing forward without all relevant information. The filing of this document has come before the release of several other key documents from federal agencies that include the United States Coast Guard, the FAA, the Department of Defense, and Minerals Management Service. With several key documents not yet filed, it does not seem possible for the FEIR to contain all relevant information about the project. If the state of Massachusetts finds this document adequate, state agencies will have to move forward and make decisions when data is missing.

In 2005, Ellen Roy Herzfelder, former Massachusetts Secretary of Environmental Affairs, asked that Cape Wind associates wait for federal agencies to file key documents before proceeding at the state level. She writes, “I believe coordinated review is a good government practice, both in terms of allowing for maximum public and agency understanding of the project and to ensure that review by regulatory agencies is as efficient as possible.”

In addition to recognizing the importance of a coordinated state and federal review process, Cape Wind Associates are asking the public to read and respond to a 5,000 page document in just 30 days. Stakeholders are asking that Cape Wind Associates withdraw their FEIR until federal agencies release their key documents, and are also calling for the public comment period to be extended sixty more days.

If Massachusetts finds the FEIR “adequate” it is likely that Cape Wind will run a press release claiming victory. Not so fast. Though this would be a step forward in the projects permitting process, it only gives state agencies a framework to review the project.

The state of Massachusetts and all federal agencies reviewing the project still need to report their findings and grant Cape Wind a permit before the project is built. All said, do not expect a final decision to come down until sometime in 2008.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Value conflict on the road to energy

The future of the environmental movement is in energy. With world population on the rise, a climbing domestic GDP, and India and China emerging as major players in the global market economy, the environmental movement must navigate an increasingly nuanced energy crisis. Ostensibly, the environmental battle of the future is waged against mining, drilling antienvironmentalists. However, upon closer examination, the true battle is one among environmentalists struggling to protect not only the planet but also the concept of place. Thus, while crusading against the extraction and burning of fossil fuels, the movement must simultaneously withstand a potentially divisive ideological conflict between environmentalists who seek to save Earth from global warming with the development of renewable energy, and those who want to protect specific places.

One of these places is Nantucket Sound. In 2001, New England energy developer Jim Gordon began plans to construct a power plant in the heart of Nantucket Sound. Fast forward to 2007, the so-called Cape Wind proposal has spawned trench warfare between environmentalists who favor renewable energy development in Nantucket Sound and environmentalists who contend that the costs of altering the cultural, historical, and aesthetic integrity of the Sound outweigh the benefits of Cape Wind. Disharmony amid environmental values has forced members of the movement to make difficult choices about the use and preservation of Earth’s resources. And yet, there is no silver bullet to trump global warming, keep the earth pristine, and increase energy production.

I believe that is it the task of the environmental movement is to address demands for cleaner energy without abandoning the places that communities have been built around. Nantucket Sound defines the culture, history, and character of our communities on Cape Cod. The Sound is a place in inherent worth and intrinsic value. We cannot allow this sacred place to become the home of an industrial powerplant.

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