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Cape Wind – Donors give wind farm foe big boost  

The Cape-based group campaigning to kill the Nantucket Sound wind farm raised nearly $4.7 million in contributions in calendar year 2004, nearly tripling the amount raised the year before.

During a 12-month span, a critical time in the review of the offshore project, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound spent $2.68 million, according to tax returns filed yesterday. Still, the group ended 2004 with nearly $2 million in the bank.

It was a high-profile year for the project. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a 4,000-page environmental study and hosted three public hearings.

According to law, all nonprofit organizations must file a return each year so the public can scrutinize its revenues and expenditures.

The return, called Form 990, lists the board of directors and the highest-paid employees and consultants.

The nonprofit Alliance has emerged as the leading voice in opposition to the wind farm, predicting it will harm the economy, tourism and wildlife. Also, the group says the turbines will be an eyesore.

The 2002 tax return showed that the Alliance raised $899,377 in public donations that year, and spent $1.14 million from May through December 2001.

A year later, public support increased to more than $1.7 million while the organization spent $2.42 million, leaving a $839,432 operating deficit.

Alliance leaders yesterday called the surge in contributions evidence of the region’s opposition to the Cape Wind project, an ambitious plan that would build 130, 417-foot turbines in the shallow waters of the Sound.

Supporters of the wind farm have called the Alliance a collection of wealthy property owners who don’t want to look at turbines from their waterfront properties. But Alliance leaders insist the group represents a wider percentage of Cape Codders.

Of 5,000 contributions in 2002, 2003 and 2004, the Alliance says more than 86 percent were less than $500. But of the $4.67 million raised in 2004, $2.9 million came from 15 individuals.

Although contributors are not listed by name on the return, one person gave $750,000 in 2004. Another donated $500,000.

Susan Nickerson, executive director of the Alliance, was paid $90,000 in 2004. Pamela Danforth, the group’s development director and CEO, was paid $55,000.

Audra Parker, assistant director of the Alliance, said the spurt in contributions has continued into 2005.

This increased base has helped the Alliance hire its first full-time president, Charles Vinick, a former executive with the Cousteau Society.

The Alliance also recently appointed a new executive committee that included Christy Mihos, owner of the Christy’s convenience store chain and possible gubernatorial candidate, and Bill Koch, billionaire yachtsman and Osterville property owner.

Kevin Dennehy can be reached at kdennehy@capecodonline.com. David Schoetz can be reached at dschoetz at capecodonline.com.

(Published: November 16, 2005)


This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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