Joseph P. Kennedy III yesterday dismissed as an election year ploy a GOP call for a congressional probe of Cape Wind and said it’s no surprise federal air-safety officials felt political pressure to approve the controversial project.
“I think the Obama administration and the Patrick administration were outspoken advocates for that project. I don’t think it’s any surprise that documents reflect that,” Kennedy said of internal FAA emails showing officials were under political heat to brush aside air safety concerns and approve the planned 440-foot-high wind turbines in Nantucket Sound.
The Democratic congressional candidate, whose late uncle U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was a vocal opponent of the green energy project, said he thinks Cape Wind is “fine where it is.”
Kennedy’s comments come after Republican U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns — who investigated the collapse of the Obama-backed green-energy firm Solyndra — called for a congressional probe of Cape Wind.
The White House, in turn, accused the Florida Republican of playing politics, and Kennedy picked up that theme.
“I think that it’s an election cycle,” Kennedy said. “Until there’s something that I don’t obviously see that’s new here, I think it’s probably much ado about nothing.”
While President Obama and Gov. Deval Patrick are not specifically named in the Federal Aviation Administration documents, the emails show officials felt political pressure to approve the 130-turbine wind farm and brushed aside safety concerns that it could pose a danger to low-flying planes or interfere with radar.
Both Patrick and Obama have embraced green energy, and the governor has pushed Cape Wind — the nation’s first offshore wind farm — as one of the cornerstones of his legacy.
Kennedy said he’ll withhold his judgment until the FAA completes a court-ordered review of the project.
“My understanding is now the case is under review by the FAA. I’ll wait and see what the report comes up with and if the FAA actually determines that there is cause for concern,” Kennedy said. “But the project itself has gone through a pretty exhaustive review process, so until I see otherwise, I’m inclined to say just leave it where it stands.”
In other news, Kennedy said he’s open to stumping for Obama as his second cousin, Caroline Kennedy, is slated to do next week in New Hampshire.
“I certainly would be honored to help the president and campaign in Massachusetts,” Kennedy said.