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Cape Wind foe’s funding takes hit  

Credit:  By Patrick Cassidy, Cape Cod Times, www.capecodonline.com 20 November 2010 ~~

As the battle over Cape Wind enters its final stages, donations to the project’s primary opposition group have declined, according to federal tax documents filed this week.

Donors gave about $1.5 million to the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound last year, compared with roughly $2.9 million in 2008, according to the documents.

The alliance was formed soon after Cape Wind announced plans in 2001 to build a wind farm in Nantucket Sound. In the past nine years the group has raised more than $20 million in its efforts to stop the project, with its high-water fundraising mark of $4.7 million coming in 2004.

In 2009 the nonprofit organization continued to draw most of its support from a small number of generous donors. About 69 percent, or $980,000, came from nine donations of between $50,000 and $500,000 each, according to the group’s Form 990, which nonprofit organizations are required to file with the Internal Revenue Service.

“The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound is grateful for the generous support we have received from our members,” the group’s president and chief executive officer Audra Parker wrote in an e-mail to the Times. The group’s base of support is “broader than ever,” Parker wrote.

The alliance and other opponents of Cape Wind have argued that the 130-turbine project is a danger to public safety, wildlife and the economy. Most recently, the group has argued that the cost of a contract between Cape Wind and National Grid for half of the project’s power would burden ratepayers in an already difficult economy.

The state Department of Public Utilities is expected to issue a decision any day on whether the agreement is cost-effective. For National Grid electricity customers, the additional cost of Cape Wind’s power would equal about $1.50 on an average residential monthly bill for 618 kilowatt-hours. Terms of the contract call for a 3.5 percent rate increase each year over the 15-year life of the project.

National Grid provides electricity to Nantucket, but not Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard.

“We have approximately 5,000 individual donors from cities and towns across Massachusetts,” Parker wrote. “Their message is loud and clear: Cape Wind is the wrong project for Massachusetts consumers.”

Parker, meanwhile, got support for the $162,000 she earned in salary and other compensation directly from one of the group’s wealthiest supporters.

William Koch of Osterville, a co-chairman who is on the board of directors for the alliance and made much of his fortune in the oil business, gave the organization $100,000 that was designated to pay Parker’s salary, according to the tax documents. Neither Parker nor Koch responded to requests for a reason behind the targeted donation.

Cape Wind spokesman Mark Rodgers declined to comment on the alliance’s tax filings.

Source:  By Patrick Cassidy, Cape Cod Times, www.capecodonline.com 20 November 2010

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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