Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cape Wind Project Reaction Demonstrates Wind Energy Dichotomy

Apr 28: Reaction to the Department of Interior Cape Wind project approval in Nantucket Sound [See WIMS 4/28/10] is an indication of the dichotomy of opinion that exists regarding wind energy that has fractured environmental, business and political interest groups. On the one hand, imagine an issue that can garner the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Greenpeace, while at the same time split the opinions Congressional members; and cause a wide ranging coalition of stakeholder groups to say they will immediately file suit opposing the project approval.
    Senator John Kerry (D-MA) released a statement saying, "This day was a long time in coming, but I believe the future of wind power in the Massachusetts and the United States will be stronger knowing that the process was exhaustive, and that it was allowed to work and wind its way through the vetting at all levels with public input. I have always advocated wind energy in Massachusetts and I accept and support Secretary Salazar's judgment today that Cape Wind should go forward. This is jobs and clean energy for Massachusetts."
     Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) released a statement saying, "I am strongly opposed to the administration's misguided decision to move forward with Cape Wind. While I support the concept of wind power as an alternative source of energy, Nantucket Sound is a national treasure that should be protected from industrialization. With unemployment hovering near ten percent in Massachusetts, the Cape Wind project will jeopardize industries that are vital to the Cape's economy, such as tourism and fishing, and will also impact aviation safety and the rights of the Native American tribes in the area. I am also skeptical about the cost-savings and job number predictions we have heard from proponents of the project."
    Representative Bill Delahunt (D-MA), representing the Cape Code, Nantucket Sound area, issued a statement saying, "Cape Wind is the first offshore wind farm to be built in the wrong place, in the wrong way, stimulating the wrong economies. Offshore wind energy has great potential, but we have missed an opportunity here to do it right. It is simply bad public policy to give 'no bid' leases to developers and their Wall Street investors for over 24 square miles of public waters and access to hundreds of millions in public subsidies each year. This will be the most expensive and most heavily subsidized offshore wind farm in the country at over $2.5 billion, with power costs to the region that will be at least double. Cape Wind will also be the first industrial scale wind power plant in the middle of an ocean sanctuary, in the middle of a candidate National Marine Sanctuary site, in a site eligible for listing on the National Register, in a Native American 'sacred' site, and in a federally designated critical fisheries habitat. It's the first wind farm in the Atlantic flyway; a major pathway for migratory birds and an important seabird habitat. . . The Interior Department decision will now lead to a new chapter of legal battles and potential setbacks to an important industry that holds great promise for our country."
    Representative Ed Markey (D-MA) hailed the approval and said, "With this historic decision, the answer to America's energy future is blowing in the wind. The same winds that delivered the Mayflower to Massachusetts and created the Perfect Storm will now deliver a clean energy future to Massachusetts and create new jobs. America's energy future can now ride the winds of change out of our dirty energy doldrums. I commend Secretary Salazar's wisdom and his commitment to the environmental review process. On the same day that a massive oil slick is growing in the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastline, the Obama administration's Cape Wind decision shows that our country has a choice in how we capture the energy found in our oceans. The Obama administration is moving forward with a comprehensive offshore energy plan that will enable America to finally move beyond oil and look to the winds, the waves, the tides, and the sun to create an American-led clean energy future."

    Audra Parker, president and CEO of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound (APNS) said, "While the Obama Administration today dealt a blow to all of us who care deeply about preserving our most precious natural treasures -- this fight is not over. Litigation remains the option of last resort. However, when the federal government is intent on trampling the rights of Native Americans and the people of Cape Cod, we must act. We will not stand by and allow our treasured public lands to be marred forever by a corporate giveaway to private industrial energy developers." Lawsuits will be filed on behalf of a coalition of environmental groups -- including the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, Three Bays Preservation, Animal Welfare Institute, Industrial Wind Action Group, Californians for Renewable Energy, Oceans Public Trust Initiative (a project of the International Marine Mammal Project of the Earth Land Institute), Lower Laguna Madre Foundation -- against the federal Fish and Wildlife Service and Minerals Management Service for violations of the Endangered Species Act.

    Bill Kovacs, senior vice president of Environment, Technology and Regulatory Affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, issued a statement commending the Department of Interior on its decision and said, "As America's first offshore wind farm, Cape Wind reflects the true spirit of American enterprise and a significant step forward toward achieving a more secure, diverse, and prosperous energy future. This project will serve as a model of innovation as others look at developing coastal wind resources and other clean energy projects across the country. Cape Wind is perhaps the nation's most infamous example of the horrors of Not in My Backyard (NIMBY). Over the coming decades, the U.S. will need many more similar wind projects. The Chamber looks forward to working with Secretary Salazar in providing the same decisive leadership on other energy initiatives."
    Kert Davies, Research Director at Greenpeace issued a statement saying, "Today's announcement that Cape Wind is moving forward is an enormous step forward toward America's clean energy future and the fight to solve global warming.  It is a shot of welcome good news in the face of climate and energy policy confusion in Washington and an oil spill of epic proportions in the Gulf.  Greenpeace has been campaigning to get the Cape Wind project built for nearly a decade, and today's victory is worth celebrating. It long overdue. There could be no clearer direction for America's energy future and global warming leadership. . . Cape Wind is the keystone project that we hope kickstarts America's clean energy future. . . Instead of pursuing expansion of dangerous offshore oil drilling that will do nothing to solve our oil addiction, America should be investing our time and money in renewable energy and global warming solutions.  In fact, Cape Wind will make obsolete an old dirty oil-burning power plant with 420 megawatts of new clean electricity. . ."
    Frances Beinecke, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) issued a statement saying, "Cape Wind represents a significant clean energy first for America. It shows us we can repower our country, we can do it the right way, and we can start today. Renewable energy projects like these not only help fight climate change, they can create jobs and play a central role in our economic recovery. The United States can be a world leader on clean energy, and offshore wind power has enormous potential to help us get there. This is a major victory for America's clean energy future -- and will help ramp up the U.S. offshore wind industry."
    Access a statement from Senator Kerry (click here). Access a release from Senator Brown (click here). Access a release from Rep. Delahunt (click here). Access a release from Rep. Markey (click here). Access a release from APNS (click here). Access the APNS website for additional information (click here). Access a release from the U.S. Chamber with links to additional information on NIMBY (click here). Access a release from Greenpeace (click here). Access a release from NRDC(click here).