March 22, 2013
Editorials, Massachusetts

Too big to fail?

Written by Patriot Staff | The Barnstable Patriot | March 21, 2013 |

No one should be surprised that Cape Wind is looking for yet another break – this time a federal energy loan guarantee – on its long march to construction in Nantucket Sound.

The project got a break right out of the gate when it laid claim to the “doughnut hole” of federal jurisdiction carved out of the state’s protected waters. From that point on, whenever things looked bad for the project, some arm of the government reached in to smooth the way. It seemed that the rules were always being written to apply to the next case, not Cape Wind.

Admittedly, the developers had some bad breaks as well, including their decision to build a 130-turbine array in the viewshed of billionaire Bill Koch – and thousands of others on Cape Cod who preferred untrammeled vistas to steel towers.

Now, with the calendar counting down to a must-start date of sorts at the end of the year, Cape Wind is looking for even more government assistance. In this, the company is abetted by a clutch of environmental, business, and labor organizations, most of which don’t even have a post office box on the Cape.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise that the press release that included the groups’ letter to the federal Department of Energy began thus: “From California to Craigsville [sic] Beach on Cape Cod…”

This is not meant as a slap in the face to the thousands of Cape Codders who have supported the wind farm for more than a decade. Many are serious students of the environment and have given countless hours to promote what they see as a solution to the region’s energy needs.

Yet it’s instructive to read the names on the letter to the federal Department of Energy. With the exception of Cape & Islands Self Reliance and the Buzzards Bay Coalition, and Woods Hole Research Center founder Dr. George Woodwell, none are identifiable as Cape-based groups.

If the government is looking to spend more to advance a worthwhile Cape effort, it would do well to contact the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and join a serious conversation about the future of our aging Cape Cod Canal bridges. That’s vastly preferable to propping up a $2 billion-plus science project in the middle of Nantucket Sound.

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