Wind farm gaining celebrity opposition [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Wind farm gaining celebrity opposition

Dble Haul
08-12-2003, 02:14 PM
Celebrities Protest Mass. Wind Farm
Mon Aug 11, 3:11 PM ET

By JENNIFER PETER, Associated Press Writer

BOSTON - The rich and famous have long flocked to the beaches of Cape Cod and the island seclusion of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket a land of sailboats and quaint vacation homes.

Now some of these celebrities want to make sure wind turbines don't become a part of the scenery.

They are fighting a proposed $700 million wind farm in the Nantucket Sound that would provide electricity to thousands of homes in the area, saying the giant turbines will mar the landscape of one of the nation's most pristine areas.

Legendary newsman Walter Cronkite, a part-time resident of Martha's Vineyard, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., whose famous political family has a compound in Hyannis, began campaigning against the renewable energy project last year.

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough recently jumped into the fray and can now be heard on one-minute radio spots decrying the project.

"I'm not against wind turbines," said McCullough, who has been a full-time resident of Martha's Vineyard for 30 years. "I'm against 130 of them over 400 feet tall right smack in the middle of one of the most beautiful places in America. That's a hundred feet taller than the Capitol dome in Washington."

Cape Wind Associates, the private company that is currently seeking a federal permit for the project, wants to put up 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound in what would be the nation's first offshore wind farm.

The turbines 420 feet tall would be located about 3 miles off the coast and supply close to three-quarters of the electricity used on Cape Cod and the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.

The farm's proximity to exclusive summertime playgrounds of Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod has bred the familiar "not-in-my-backyard" charges from officials at Cape Wind Associates.

"If the government determines that this project is in the public interest, that ultimately is much more important than anyone's individual aesthetic opinion," Cape Wind spokesman Mark Rodgers said. "If these agencies determine that this project is in the public interest, then we would supply three-quarters of the electricity that Mr. McCullough will use in his home from a clean, renewable resource."

McCullough points out that he has no view of the Sound from his home and that he has become involved in projects far from his back yard. He helped derail Disney's proposed Civil War theme park near a Virginia battlefield a decade ago.

"I feel strongly about preserving the unspoiled places in America, no matter where they are," McCullough said. "That Sound, that beautiful place out there ... is not just the back yard of those of us who are blessed enough to live in this part of America, but to some 5 million people who come here from all over the world."

The wind farm has received mixed reviews from local residents, who have seen the project evolve into the hottest topic of the summer.

"It's good to see people talking, people active, people involved," said Erik Albert, innkeeper at Martha's Vineyard's Oak Bluffs Inn, which is a five-minute walk from the Sound. As for Cronkite and McCullough, Albert said, "They are valued members of the community here and their opinions hold a lot of weight."

Cronkite, who has sailed in the Sound and owns a second home on the Vineyard, appeared in a television advertisement in opposition to the project earlier this year.

Opponents of the project say they are in favor of renewable energy, but just don't believe it should be allowed in this body of water at a time when there is no federal licensing process for this type of development on the ocean's floor.

"We are environmentalists and we believe something has to be done societally to boost renewable energy, but we think it has to be done responsibly," said Isaac Rosen, executive director of Save Our Sound.

Because Cape Wind is proposing the project in federal water, states have no power to stop it. Supporters argue that at least 17 state and federal agencies, led by the Army Corps of Engineers, are reviewing the project. A draft document outlining the environmental impact is expected as early as September, with a decision on a permit as much as a year away.

Save Our Sound officials argue that prominent voices can help put the roiling debate into a new focus. They also point out that there are many working-class residents who oppose this project, based on its potential impact on the fishing industry and marine life.

"You get into these pitched battles and it's hard to step outside of that and look at it from a fresh perspective," said spokesman Ernie Corrigan. "David McCullough is saying that there is nothing wrong with taking an aesthetic view of this project and asking whether it is worth all of the trade-offs."

Rodgers argues that the participation of privileged island residents could actually backfire.

"I think it is obvious to a lot of people as a not-in-my-backyard, entitled view," he said.

08-12-2003, 02:38 PM
Kudos to those with a bigger name getting involved! Every time I discuss this hair-brained scheme with people they say "how can you be against clean power?".

How short-sighted! I am not against clean power. Put the turbines on Otis Air Force Base, that MASSIVE area of Cape Cod we take an hour to drive around on the upper cape. Very few if any of us have ever seen what's inside that fence. If there is less wind, put more in there, who cares. Put them higher up, who cares!

Rip Ryder
08-12-2003, 07:13 PM
Hey Juro,

I live on Cape and I am damn sure my electric bill is not going to get any lower from this wind farm, but I have been kind of looking at it as the oil rigs in the gulf. I wonder, if they would become a man made reef for fish?

Your thoughts. I get asked about this all the time during my seal cruises. Just looking for another point of view.


08-12-2003, 08:02 PM
Oil rigs are floating platforms that are temporary, for one thing. I don't like the fact that we have to plant these rust-bombs in the shoals which are habitat for millions of our oceanic species every year, vibrating spinning shadows right in the path of our annual migratory species' trail! Heck they don't even like my flyline, I can only imagine what this will do to their behavior.

And what a logistic nightmare! How many houses do you see built with stilts planted in the shoals? If the idea had any brains behind it we'd already be living out there. The fact of the matter is whatever you put out there you can count on being not worth a crap in short order. I wouldn't doubt if this is like the sheet metal car engine Detroit was dreaming up in the 80's in order to create residual revenues for car makers - at the expense of the consumer's pockets and our landfills capacities. At least if we plant them on dry land, Otis for instance, the maintenance staff can get to them without much ado and their malfunctioning will have little impact on our pristine coast and it's seasonal migration paths, cycles of life, and last but not least to the beauty of this jewel of our planet we call Cape Cod.

To me it's crapping in the nest. Except birds are smart enough to push the crappers out. Many people seem to be fixated on this project as if it's some kind of human victory over the sea or something. We've already destroyed the great North American salmon rivers, all but extinct. PCB's, Mercury, Pesticides, heavy metals, carbonic/hydrocloric acid content in the atmosphere raining down from fossil fuel use, shell fish closures on most of our coast, why we can't even eat freshwater fish in Massachusetts anymore!

IMHO - if it isn't going to help, why the f**k do it? :devil:

Well I guess I wasn't too shy about my point of view ;)

08-12-2003, 08:10 PM
Why not put them in the Nevada or Utah desert? Perhaps in Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, or Western Nebraska? Then there is Eastern Oregon and East New Mexico and West Texas.

Seems that as long as they are not put in the backyard of a populated area, where a lot of people can see them, all is well. I noticed a distinct lack of outcry from celebrities when the wind farm was being developed outside Livingston, Montana.

Rip Ryder
08-12-2003, 08:17 PM
I would be shocked to see this all go through. The animal activists will jump in soon, because it appears the mills will be right in the middle of the migratory bird route, including the birds that use Monomoy. The refuge has been watching this whole ordeal very closely. The last thing they want is the bird blenders sitting right in the backyard of Monomoy.