The leader of a group at the forefront of a seven-year fight over the wind farm proposed for Nantucket Sound will “transition” out of that position within a month.
Charles Vinick, president of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, said yesterday he would likely step down at the next meeting of the organization’s board of directors.
“I’m not going to be president going forward,” he said during a telephone interview.
Vinick also confirmed that for the past few months he provided consulting services for a California wind energy technology and development company.
The Alliance was formed to combat a proposal by Jim Gordon, president of Boston-based Cape Wind Associates LLC, to build 130 wind turbines on Horseshoe Shoal in the sound.
Over the years, the group has raised a wide array of concerns and millions of dollars in an effort to kill what Vinick has called an “industrial blight on the horizon.”
Vinick came on board as chief executive officer of the Alliance in May 2005, bringing with him a lengthy list of environmental credentials.
In 2006 Vinick, a former vice president of the Cousteau Society, made $203,099 as president of the Alliance, according to the nonprofit group’s tax records.
Last year, Vinick handed off his role as chief executive officer to Glenn Wattley, an Osterville homeowner and former coal industry engineer and consultant.
For the past several months, Vinick worked for the Alliance out of Washington, D.C., in anticipation of a draft environmental report from the federal Minerals Management Service. That report was originally expected last year but has been repeatedly delayed as federal regulators review Cape Wind.
Cape Wind officials couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a jab at Vinick’s recent work on wind energy development.
“We’re glad to hear that Charles Vinick has decided to stop blocking wind power and to champion it instead,” Cape Wind spokesman Mark Rodgers wrote in an e-mail to the Times. “Cape Wind will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make America more energy independent and we hope that Mr. Vinick’s wind projects will too.”
The Alliance leader said his consulting work for Clipper Windpower, which assembles 2.5 megawatt turbines at its Iowa plant, was in no way ironic.
“I am very much committed to all of these technologies being used in the right ways,” he said. “We would work even with Jim Gordon to find sites outside of Nantucket Sound.”
Vinick said his work with Clipper Windpower was limited so far. It is focused on the permitting process for projects and highlighting where potential conflicts exist, he said.
Vinick said he would continue to work as a consultant with the Alliance but that he decided to resign as president so he could spend more time in California with his family.
The Alliance’s board of directors could meet as soon as this month to make leadership changes, Wattley said.
The timing of Vinick’s departure, occurring before the imminent release of the project’s draft environmental statement, was coincidental, Wattley said. The two men had planned the transition since Wattley arrived to focus on energy and economic issues, he said.
“Charles has got the Jacques Cousteau background – strong environmental side – and I’ve got this energy background,” Wattley said.
By Patrick Cassidy
10 January 2008
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