Gray Watson Personal Thoughts 2006.04.28
Kennedy's Opposition of Cape Wind

Ted Kennedy

So I've been hearing about Republican Ted Stevens' of Alaska putting a wind-farm provision into the Coast Guard bill before the Senate. It would give MA Governor Mitt Romney, who is opposed to the Cape Wind project, veto power over it, even though it is in federal waters. It has now come out that Senator Ted Kennedy was partially behind the amendment and has been talking with Stevens behind the scenes. Many in Congress are upset about this move. Man did this piss me off.

First off, I am a big proponent of states' rights. Most ways we can make governing more localized, I support it. But this is not a discussion about states' rights -- this is an ammendment to a Coast Guard bill specifically designed by Stevens and Kennedy to derail offshore wind farms in their states. The behind-the-scenes nature of this and Kennedy's persistence in opposing the project really ticked me off so I called Kennedy and Kerry today and fired off some email to friends.

Kennedy's Washington staff meekly confirmed the Senator's dealings with Stevens, took down my zipcode, said he'd pass on my thoughts to the Senator, and got me off the phone. The Boston staffer interestingly had a discussion with me. He argued that it was a states rights issue which I said was bullshit. If someone wanted to debate this issue then let's do it on the floor of the senate and not through an amendment added at the last minute. He also mentioned the private company and FAA concerns which I discuss below.

Kerry's Washington staff said that opposes the amendment but he has not ruled on Cape Wind yet and that he's waiting for all of the research. What a typical politician's answer and an example of his deficiencies that caused his loss in 2004.

My Support for Cape Wind

Cape Wind

So I've been an alternative energy enthusiast for some time. My wife and I both drive hybrids in an attempt to use less gas, general less polution, and give car companies who are working on the problem more money. I also have a solar array on my house which is more an investment in technology than a money savings.

We have money to afford these things and feel strongly that we should invest in this technology and support them. Although I'm going to activate for our state and local governments to help fix these problems, I'm not going to wait around for them because they've demonstrated time and time again poor or nonexistent leadership in this area. I'm doing what I can because it's the right thing to do IMO.

As the price of gas rises above $3/gallon, we must encourage corporations and the public to think more about and invest more money alternative energy. Blocking a project which will supply 75% of the Cape with electricity instead of the oil fired plant in Sandwich is very short sighted.

Oil and coal are the two largest growth areas in terms of power generation because we have few alternatives. We are releasing more and more CO2 into our atmosphere and we have no idea if we are close to a tipping point in terms world climate. As evidence of global warming increases, we must be investing more in renewable and clean energy because by the time climate change becomes significant it may be too late to fix it.

The oil slick in Buzzards Bay two years back was from a tanker going to the oil power plant in Sandwich. On a clear day you can see the smog rolling off the stack in Sandwich. The power plant is one of the dirtiest in the nation and we have an opportunity to replace it with an entirely clean infrastructure.

But regardless of the environmental issues, there is extensive evidence that foreign oil money is directly responsible for funding of Islamic fundamentalism and madrassas that preach Wahhabism. Our buying of and relying on more and more Middle East oil is extremely bad for our national security and our economy.

I do not deny that there is some risk associated with the Cape Wind project but I believe that once the project is built even the pundits will come to see that most of the worries were unfounded. The blinking lights on the horizon and possible "navigation" problems will be worries in the past. We will have a great resource which will hopefully encourage the Long Island wind project and others to be completed to start us on a path towards energy independence for the USA -- what a concept.

We need good leaders that take the tough stands and fight the tough fights -- to encourage people to think past their own short-term interests.

FAA Concerns

Marine Radar

One recent criticism is that the FAA is now reviewing the project because of concerns now about radar "holes" seen by British air defense research around the North Hoyle wind farm. This is after both the US Defense Department and the FAA have repeatedly given a "No Hazard to air Navigation" status in past reviews.

I've reviewed the findings which are now being heavily quoted by critics of cape wind. They do say that it may be harder to find small boats when they are near the towers, much like you would if there where hundreds of tall boats out there with them. Any busy seaway would have similar problems. They recommended that wind farms be kept away from port approaches or established traffic routes which is not a problem with Cape Wind. The document concludes with, among other findings" that:

With respect to shorebased or offshore platform based systems, the careful siting of radar scanners in relation to traffic routes and wind farm configurations should enable any degrading effects to be minimised.

Take Action

So all this said I encourage you to take 5 minutes and call Senators Kennedy and Kerry and complain to them both about this and to encourage them to support for Cape Wind. If you've not done this before it's very easy and the Congressional staffers are very used to it.

Senator Kennedy
Washington: 202.224.4543
Boston: 617.565.3170

Senator Kerry
Washington: 202.224.2742
Boston: 617.565.8519

Thanks for reading

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