The Wind Farm: A Discussion


 

 

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Afterword:  The Need for Fresh Air

 

October 8, 2007:  Since moderating the wind farm "discussion" in August and writing about it in the past newsletter, I've received several comments. I've reduced them to the five points that follow. Admittedly, there is no statistical validity that supports any of them. And I also acknowledge that the culling of these replies by me is one that is filtered through my own perspectives, for good or bad.  I'm not claiming in any way that the following points are objective, but it was very interesting to see how they took shape as the comments gathered.

First, both those who favor the wind farm as well as those oppose it express dismay at the money that has been spent by both sides to this point in the process. It's reminiscent of the Cold War's "Mutually Assured Destruction," which was referred to at that time by the appropriate anagram MAD, which is equally applicable now. The comparison of the money spent in the wind farm development process as contrasted with the money needed in the entirely unrelated context of Barnstable County's human services prompted many replies.

Second, the presentations by both sides were seen differently. Jim Gordon conveyed the sincerity of his own convictions to many observers and viewers who have watched the discussion in its rebroadcast on Channel 17 (local access). Charles Vinick was considered by many to have been more polished and cogent in the presentation of his perspective opposing the project. His PowerPoint outline helped.

Third, people did not readily separate Jim Gordon's identity as the project's developer from his expressed conviction that he is trying to prod us all to become more energy independent and self-reliant. The lack of clarity and transparency about the wind farm's business model is the basis of this cloudiness. Listeners do not yet see a benefit to themselves that the project would provide either in their pocketbooks or in the quality of the air they breathe. And there is no sense that the project will soon extricate us from the large, international scrum that tugs and pulls over fossil fuels.

Fourth, the Alliance's claim to be interested in the pristine waters of Nantucket Sound doesn't float. Sunken tires, cables, fishing vessels, resting on an already scarred seabed drag to the bottom any notion that there is anything truly pristine about Horseshoe Shoals than the view itself. The core question is simply whether and to what extent a vista controls the regulation of a natural resource.

Fifth, neither the proponents or the opponents offered any more detailed information or insights at this event than the ones they have presented for the past several years in a variety of other forums. Our hope that providing each side an extended time to present their ideas did not lead to a more detailed exposition. Nice try.

In conclusion, the overwhelming majority of the comments received were constructive and very thoughtful. Nonetheless, there were a few that were pretty dismissive and cynical. I've left aside any effort to cull the comments that suggested that neither of the two presenters is anything other than a charlatan or nostrum seller. Unfortunately, however, this haze of cynicism is one that hangs over most large-scale development discussions these days whether related to the wind farm, liquefied natural gas, highway construction, mixed-use development proposals, hospital and biotechnology laboratory developments, and so on. There's clearly a need for fresh air.

Allen Larson, President, Cape Cod Center for Sustainability

 


 

The Wind Farm: A Discussion, August 15, 2007, Brewster, Massachusetts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See also the moderator's report, September 8, 2007.

 

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