"Cape Wind" Project in Nantucket Sound Faces Setback

BOSTON, Jan. 8 (UPI) — A plan to build the United States’ largest offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound, Mass., has suffered another setback after nine years of environmental and political arguments.

Energy Management Inc.’s proposed Cape Wind $1 billion wind farm would cover 24 square miles — an area roughly the size of Manhattan — in the sound.

But the National Park Service Monday announced that the 560-square-mile Nantucket Sound is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

The decision follows a request from two American Indian tribes, the Mashpee Wampanoag of Cape Cod and the Aquinnah Wampanoag of Martha’s Vineyard, who claim the proposed 130 turbines would stand in the way of their spiritual ritual of greeting the sunrise. They say it would also disturb ancestral burial grounds, now underwater.

The late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., whose family compound overlooks Nantucket Sound, was among Cape Cod residents who argued that the turbines would adversely affect the area’s tourism industry and spoil its natural beauty, the Independent reports. The turbines would be visible from the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, both magnets for summer visitors.

Oil and coal magnate and Cape Cod property owner Bill Koch also opposes Cape Wind.

Cape Cod Today newspaper last month said Koch, founder and president of the Oxbow Group, is best known on the cape as chairman of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, an organization it says was formed to fight the Cape Wind proposal.

The newspaper cited a 2006 Forbes magazine profile on Koch, which described his fight against Cape Wind: “Koch has pumped in $1.5 million to an anti-windmill group of which he is now chairman, commissioned several economic studies undermining the idea and assigned his lobbyists to torpedo the plan in Washington.”

Environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council had high marks for Cape Wind, saying the project is “the largest single source of supply-side reductions in CO2 currently proposed in the United States,” Cape Cod Today reports.

U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar has called all parties involved in the debate to meet in Washington next week with the aim of settling the issue by March 1, the Independent reports.

“After several years of review, it is now time to move the Cape Wind proposal to a final decision point,” Salazar said in a statement.

“While we found the National Park Service decision disappointing, far more important is that Secretary Salazar has signaled the beginning of his personal involvement in bringing the Cape Wind permitting process to a speedy conclusion,” said Mark Rodgers, spokesman for Cape Wind.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Categorized | Coal, Wind
One Response to “"Cape Wind" Project in Nantucket Sound Faces Setback”
  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


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