Friday, August 31, 2007Cape Wind Commentary
by Michael Vickerman, RENEW Wisconsin
August 31, 2007
When the news of a proposed windpower project in the waters off Cape Cod broke six years ago, the last thing developer Jim Gordon expected to create was a political tempest of such ferocity that it became the nation’s No. 1 energy hot spot, displacing Alaska’s North Slope in the process.
Clearly, Gordon miscalculated, and the battle royal that ensued—and continues to this day—is chronicled in absorbing fashion in Cape Wind, a new and valuable book that sheds light on the most privileged, if not powerful, opposition group the world has ever seen.
To be fair to Gordon, nobody knew back in the fall of 2001 how Cape Cod’s bluebloods would react to the idea of a wind project located nearby. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, it was reasonable to assume that Americans of all socioeconomic stripes would support energy production from domestic renewable resources like wind. Then again, no one before Gordon had the audacity to propose erecting wind turbines, 170 in total, a mere five and one-half miles from their seaside Xanadus.
As Gordon soon found out, the Cape and Island elites weren’t about to let this interloper turn their pleasuring grounds into New England’s largest source of clean energy without a fight. Abandoning uppercrust restraint for the kind of overheated language one expects from enraged Muslim clerics, the bluebloods closed ranks and issued a fatwa of sorts against the Cape Wind project. Gordon’s vision was described as “a monster project” that if built would irreparably sully “the hallowed ground” that is Nantucket Sound.
To conceal the NIMBY nature of their objections, the more well-heeled among them created an organization called the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. But few were fooled by this transparent attempt to spin a grassroots movement out of old money. Anyone hearing the words “save our sound” knew right away that it was the view, not the environment, that needed saving.
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