Afterword: The Need
for Fresh Air
October 8, 2007: Since moderating the wind
farm "discussion" in August and writing about it in the past
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
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
Allen Larson, President, Cape Cod Center for
The Wind Farm: A
August 15, 2007, Brewster, Massachusetts