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.

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