Cape Wind officials have spent the better part of six years framing themselves as the good guys – the green saviors of Cape Cod and the Islands.
They want you to believe their proposal to build 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound is a battle between those who want to save the Earth and those who made fortunes despoiling it. It’s a simple – and effective – message, and yet anyone paying more than cursory attention to this important issue knows better.
Last week, Cape Wind appealed the Cape Cod Commission’s denial of the developer’s plan to run electrical transmission lines from Yarmouth to its proposed industrial site.
In its 32-page appeal to the state’s Energy Facility Siting Board, the company asked the board to issue a “composite certificate of all individual permits, approvals, or authorizations which would otherwise be necessary.”
In effect, the developer is asking the state to bypass local review of the mega project.
We don’t always agree with the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, especially as it relates to some of the tactics it has used to oppose the project, but Susan Nickerson, executive director of the alliance, makes an excellent point when she says the appeal is designed to circumvent Yarmouth, Barnstable and Cape Cod Commission review of the project.
“This attempt at wholesale override of the local process is completely inappropriate,” she said. “Cape Wind is trying to do an end-run around the towns of Cape Cod and the Islands. It apparently is unwilling to do what hundreds of other developers of good will have done: test themselves against the regional planning standards of the Cape Cod Commission and against local regulations designed to protect our communities… . Cape Wind’s utter disregard for our local process is appalling.”
The effort to bypass the Cape Cod Commission – and all home-rule scrutiny – demonstrates the company’s arrogant attitude toward local regulators and reveals they are not as interested in the public process as they would have you believe.
Add to this the conventional power plant the same developers wanted to build in Chelsea and you start to see a picture of an opportunist looking to make money rather than an altruist looking to save the world via green power.
The company is now hoping that Ian Bowles, a supporter of Cape Wind who chairs the Energy Siting Board, will help them push their project through. That’s politics. But it’s pretty hypocritical of a developer who cries foul every time the opposition makes their own political maneuvers. The truth is, Cape Wind has been all about exploiting loopholes from day one.
Cape Wind wants to make money, pure and simple. There is nothing wrong with this essential capitalistic ideal, but the company’s primary motive of padding its own pockets should not be lost in the fog of a complicated debate over a myriad of issues.
2 November 2007