|April 29, 2010|
|Cape Wind Approval is Bad News for Arabs|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|The Obama Administration cheered alternative energy fans by approving the Cape Wind offshore wind farm for Nantucket Sound. |
First proposed in 2001, the project has been reviewed over and over by federal and Massachusetts officials.
The NIMBY crowd, led by the late Ted Kennedy was the most effective opposition. Kennedy feared the vista from the clan's Hyannisport compound would be marred by unsightly windmills.
A federal advisory panel sided with the former Senate heavyweight when it ruled against Cape Wind because of "scenery destruction." The project, in actuality, will be a sight for sore eyes for those who favor reducing dependence on Arab oil and developing a clean energy economy. Sorry, Ted.
Cape Wind will be America’s first offshore wind farm. And it’s about time. The U.S. badly trails Europe when it comes to offshore wind development due, in part, to our country’s continental size. North Dakota ranks as America's Saudi Arabia of Wind, but the place has few people yearning for electricity.
Offshore wind farms benefit crowded tri-coastal America. The Cape Wind nod may provide a psychological lift to solar power. Americans are also far behind the Europeans on the solar energy front and are in severe danger of falling behind China.
Obama has made development of clean energy jobs a major plank of his national economic development program. Cape Wind will employ hundreds of workers, as long as financing can be found for the project that one day may power 200,000 homes in the Bay State and dramatically cut its carbon footprint. Cape Wind supporters say the wind farm will cut greenhouse gas emissions equal to taking 175K cars off the road.
Critics reel off a litany of woes connected with Cape Wind including potential danger to sea birds and the threat to the tourism economy. Not to worry. Those fears are misplaced.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the windmills must be painted off-white. That will reduce contrast with the sea and sky and make the windmills visible to birds. On the tourist front, Cape Wind will rank among Massachusetts’ top tourism attractions a decade or so after it gets built. People will pay for a boat trip to the site where America finally got serious in declaring independence from foreign oil.
Those fretting about scenery destruction should pay attention to BP’s oil spill, which currently ranks No. 2 behind the Exxon Valdez disaster. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee plans to conduct hearings on Obama’s plan to promote offshore drilling, along with BP's Gulf disaster, which has left 11 rig workers dead.
The best Senate outcome: decide more Cape Winds are the way to go.
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