Friday, May 12, 2006

Delahunt: Cape Wind averse to rules

Democratic Congressman William Delahunt of Massachusetts writes in today's Boston Herald:

Recently, some have suggested that Congress is trying to change the rules of the game for the developers of the wind farm proposed for Nantucket Sound. ...

When Jim Gordon and Cape Wind applied [in 2001] for a permit with the Army Corps of Engineers, ... he possessed no clear legal right to build a wind farm in federal waters. Congress only authorized the development of such facilities in federal waters last August. ...

The emergence of the Cape Wind project and others prompted Congress last year to authorize creation of a policy for offshore wind farms. The rules are now being written by the Minerals Management Service and will most likely call for wind farm sites to be chosen based on a consultation process with states. The rules will no doubt require wind projects to avoid marine sanctuaries, participate in a transparent competitive bidding process and
ensure that the rights to use federal waters produce tax revenues. ...

Tucked away in the energy bill that was signed into law last year was a cleverly written, innocuous provision that would exempt Cape Wind from many rules now being written to regulate emerging wind farms -- specifically, federal competitive bidding requirements. ...

Cape Wind has morphed into a no-bid deal, engineered in secret and financed with $1 billion in taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies [annually]. ...

The so-called "exhaustive process" that Cape Wind claims it has participated in has been extensively criticized by the U.S. Oceans Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Interior.

Cape Wind's draft Environmental Impact Statement ... earned EPA's lowest grade. Interior's criticisms are over 50 pages long. ...

With respect to the substance of the Coast Guard provisions, Congress has already established a precedent by giving our governors and the Coast Guard the authority to veto and regulate offshore LNG projects. Nobody is suggesting that was a mistake.

Let's not forget that 30 years ago it was the people of the Cape and Islands who convinced Massachusetts to designate all of Nantucket Sound an ocean sanctuary. It was the state that designated much of this area off-limits to development, and nominated it for national sanctuary protection.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism