April 27, 2006

OBVIOUSLY A TOOL OF BIG OIL, and hence hostile to alternative energy:

As record oil prices turn attention to the need for renewable fuels, momentum is building in Congress to buck Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s bid to block the proposed Cape Cod wind energy project, potentially reviving efforts to construct the sprawling windmill farm in Nantucket Sound. . . .

”Are we going to be for developing alternative energy or not?” said Representative Charles Bass, a New Hampshire Republican who helped persuade House leaders to table the bill until at least mid-May. ”The longer you delay it, the longer there is for people to examine the issue, and to determine what’s going on here.”

The efforts to move the wind farm forward occur amid growing attention to Kennedy’s role in the secret, behind-the-scenes maneuvering to stop it. Republican Ted Stevens of Alaska, the senator who inserted the wind-farm provision into the Coast Guard bill, has acknowledged discussing the matter privately with the Massachusetts Democrat.

Environmental groups have launched an aggressive advertising and lobbying campaign to persuade Democrats to abandon Kennedy and back a promising source of renewable energy. If the wind farm becomes a reality, advocates say, it could provide three-fourths of the Cape and Islands’ energy needs and could set an example for the nation.

The maneuver to stop the wind farm ”is clearly a backroom deal, and they’re going to get called publicly on it,” said John Passacantando, executive director of Greenpeace USA. ”The Democrats are going to kill the first big offshore wind farm in the United States because of their relationship with Ted Kennedy.”

It won’t be the first to be killed because of a relationship with Ted Kennedy.

UPDATE: Matt Stoller emails that the folks at MyDD have been mad at Kennedy for a while: “Here’s a leading member of the party that claims to be pro-environment trying to shut down an environmentally responsible project because it would take away from his scenic views. It’s classic NIMBYism. John Stossel couldn’t make up a better narrative if he tried.” I think that’s right.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Aleta Jackson sends this email:

There are over 8,000 graceful, slender bright white windmills just west of my house, in the Tehachapi hills. They are quite nice to look at; some would even say lovely. They ATTRACT TOURISTS. People come from all over the world to take photos. They spend money at the hotels and restaurants, then leave. Foreign film makers come here to use the wind farms as backdrops for weird movies or music videos. They rent stuff, take photos, spend money at the hotels and restaurants, then leave.

The point is, wind farms are an attraction, and can be an attractive attraction. All it takes is the proper attitude.

She sends this photo, too, from her office window. Nice view!

winfarmsm.jpg