The surprise that one week before Thanksgiving Massachusetts Speaker of the House Sal DiMasi had thrown a last-minute Mickey into a state energy bill was no surprise at all…just business as usual. Well… maybe not so usual. The obvious beneficiary of this maneuver to allow development of “alternative energy” projects within previously protected state ocean sanctuaries is one Jay Cashman, multi-millionaire construction tycoon and close personal friend of the speaker. Cashman has announced his plans to desecrate Buzzards Bay in the name of renewable profits.
From surprise to dismay
Mark Forrest, chief of staff for Congressman William Delahunt, said during a conversation on the day before Thanksgiving: “We think this kind of thing should be decided locally…that Falmouth, for example, should be allowed to vote on something like this either at their town meeting or by referendum.” Forrest also said: “Wait until people realize that this means the North Shore, Cohasset, Plymouth…everywhere is open for development under this bill.”
A cursory search for political fingerprints finds something interesting: the governor had said through various lackeys (spokespersons) that he was not personally involved in the crafting of the amendment or in the method used to gain its passage in the House. But his lackeys (spokespersons) also say that the “governor’s office” was aware of the legislation and supported it. Both State Senator Rob O’Leary and Senate President Therese Murray expressed surprise (dismay in O’Leary’s case) that the amendment was included in the energy bill. Apparently, neither the governor nor the speaker informed the Senate of their plans. And we are supposed to believe all this.
The wolf is at the door
When Jim Gordon unveiled his plans for a wind farm covering twenty-five miles of Nantucket Sound it was clear that he intentionally laid out his project to avoid falling under Massachusetts’ regulations, which he perceived as hostile to his plans. He excluded not only local authority but also state authority. The voice of the people was not to be heard or, if heard, it was not to be effective. Now Cashman and the Speaker of the House have found a way to destroy the very state protections Gordon so rightly feared and so expensively avoided. Now the wolf is at the door. In this case (because Massachusetts has been doing this for two centuries and more) the wolf is yet another wealthy individual who wants to use the public domain to grab even greater wealth; the sheepskin used to cover this wolf is the mantle of clean, renewable energy. Of course, Jay Cashman also owned the land in Fall River that was the proposed site for a new LNG terminal. Curious? Not really…business as usual.
By Peter Kenney
24 November 2007
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