Nantucket Nuance

The commotion over the proposal by Cape Wind Associates LLC to build an electricity-generating wind farm in Nantucket Sound has been a treat to watch. On one side is a private company willing to put its own money at risk to build an environmentally-friendly installation that could supply 3/4 of the electricity needs of Cape Code and the nearby islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. The proposal is supported by, among others, Greenpeace, the Conservation Law Foundation, and other environmental groups. It is opposed by, among others, the Massachusetts Audubon Society, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and other environmental groups. Green-on-green casualties and hard feelings have resulted.

Leading the opposition to the wind farm is the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. The group is believed to be largely funded by Bill Koch, industrialist, America’s Cup sailor, and bon vivant. It is organized as a charity (sec. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code), so Koch apparently gets to take a charitable deduction for funding a series of lawsuits designed to block the project. He believes that the wind farm would spoil the view from his oceanfront property, a sentiment shared by Hyannis resident Sen. Edward Kennedy and a host of other wealthy Democrats and their donors.

Today, the Boston Globe was full of righteous editorial indignation about a sneaky attempt to stop the wind farm by outlawing such projects within 1.5 nautical miles of a shipping lane. The Providence Journal (free reg. req’d.) identifies the culprit as Republican congressman “Don ‘Bridge-to-Nowhere’ Young, the Alaskan porkmeister,” who has no local interest one way or another, and is considered to be acting on behalf of someone else.

The junior senator from Massachusetts, Sen. John F. Kerry, has been largely absent from this struggle, apparently fearing to alienate wealthy contributors from Massachusetts by supporting it, and nervous of how he would look nationally to environmentalists by opposing it. The interesting part is that he may be forced to take a position. The Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee is where Cong. Young did his nefarious deed; Kerry sits on the corresponding Senate subcommittee. Something tells me that he will be absent when this gets on the agenda.

In the meantime, we can enjoy the spectacle as the greenies unwillingly represent a source of innocent merriment in fighting against one of their own proposed solutions to greenhouse gasses and global warming. Wind power is fine in theory, I guess, as long as you don’t actually build the windmills.

4 thoughts on “Nantucket Nuance”

  1. Small point, I know, but your statement that the wind farm could supply 3/4 of the electricity needs of the area named is short of one detail; in that the normal power station base output needed to supply those same needs will still be wanted, because the turbines only work when the wind is blowing. So the ‘environmental blessings’ are somewhat limited. Plus no-one seems to have measured the amount of Carbon Emmissions given off during the manufacture and placement of these benighted machines, whose existence in the U.K. is healthily subsidised by all the users of electricity in Britain!

  2. I think this is good example the environment a luxury good. The wind of Cape Cod can be used to generate electricity or to propel sailboats. Guess which use the super wealthy choose?

    A lot of so-called environmental laws are actually intended to protect the property values and life-styles of the wealthy. Building restriction are probably the most common example of this phenomenon.

  3. How did you miss this performance: An Ill Wind Off Cape Cod By ROBERT F. KENNEDY Jr. Published: December 16, 2005

    In which the scion of that ill-stared clan argues that the building the proposed wind farm in front of his summer house would be like building it at Yosemite or that the shipping lanes are too busy to accommodate it or its too popular so nobody goes there anymore.

    Proof, as if we needed more, that environmentalists are men who do not want to solve problems, they want to be problems.

  4. From a practical point of view, the building of wind farms are a bad idea, as are alot of “green” engergy schemes, (saltwater, solar, fuel cell, ethanol.) Liberal’s still support them enthusiastically, at least in theory, until they might be forced to deal with the consequences locally or even personally.

    The situation is not disimilar to the situation NYC and other eastern states find themselves in. In abstract, they are very left-wing, voting for liberals in national elections (senate, president,) but when their elected officials will have a more direct impact on their daily lives, governor, mayor, they only trust the job to republicans.

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