Conservation weighs in…the other side

…And now, for the other side. Look closely at the horizon in the first photo by Morton Mitchell Larod (from Flickr’s creative commons page – 2nd photo by “phault”) and you may get an idea of what visitors will see from the shores that look onto Nantucket Sound in Massachusetts if CapeWind‘s development plan gets the green light.

We learned that opponents’ biggest concern with the proposed plant is that the developers may not study deeply enough to truly assess all of the impacts and risks- environmental (including effects on sealife and bird and whale migrations), economic (including commercial fishing, tourism, and transportation issue for airlines and ferryboats), and safety (possible damage to due collisions with wind turbines by vessels using the shipping canal). The risk of accidents may seem low but the impact of such an accident could be devastating.

Interestingly, the water just around the land masses is still state-protected sanctuary but the inner bay is now Federal water. Additionally, as this would be United States’ first offshore windfarm, the Federal Government is only now drawing up the rules and regulations for this kind of development, at the same time that CapeWind is seeking their permit. The federal standards will come up for public hearing so hopefully experts and citizens will weigh in and the regulations will be agreeable to both proponents of CapeWind power and supporters of conserving the natural beauty of Nantucket Sound.

“It’s a complex issue,” says Save Our Sound director, Charles Vinick, who admits that visual aesthetic is a consideration for those trying to save the Bay from development. The pristine ocean view “drives our economy and nurtures our souls here.” He went on to agree that, while we all want clean energy, he feels that there just hasn’t been enough study about the true impacts of a windfarm in Nantucket Sound, or about possible alternative locations for the CapeWind project, to warrant granting the location. Germany has a windfarm in development now in deeper water and which, at 12 miles out, will not impact the view of the horizon.

Maybe our government can find a way to subsidize building of deeper water offshore windfarms so that we can have our view and wind energy too?

just a thought…

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