Library filed under Impact on Wildlife from Massachusetts
By the time federal regulators stopped accepting public comments about the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm on Monday, two of the letters had already raised some eyebrows among the project's critics. That's because the two letters were signed by the same person, state Division of Marine Fisheries director Paul Diodati, but they struck noticeably different tones. ...Diodati's first letter [dated Feb. 20] spells out the loss of access that fishermen could face as well as concerns about rescue crews reaching a troubled boat in the area. But the second letter, dated March 7, tones down the rhetoric considerably, reducing the section that lists the potential impacts to fisheries to just a few sentences. The section also mentions a couple of possible benefits, such as certain species becoming attracted to the newly built tower foundations.
There is nothing "laughable" about the biological significance of avian mortalities by wind turbines. As Donald Michael Fry, Ph.D., director of pesticides and birds program of the American Bird Conservancy testified to Chairwoman Bordello and members of the House Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans during the Oversight Hearing "Gone with the Wind: Impacts of Wind Turbines on Birds and Bats" on May 1, 2007: "While the actual number of birds killed by wind turbines is unknown, estimates have been made in the range of 30,000 to 60,000 per year at the current level of wind development."
But the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound cites more than a few environmental impacts in the DEIS that it believes the Minerals Management Service and the rest of the agencies reviewing the massive project need to pay closer attention to. Impacts on birds, scenic views, navigation, fish species, fishing and boating all received a moderate rating from the MMS. The Alliance also calls into question what it terms the excessive cost of Cape Wind's wind energy and air travel hazards over Nantucket Sound in proximity to the wind farm. Alliance President and CEO Glenn Wattley said the Alliance is working now to examine each impact that was given a moderate characterization by the MMS and figure out ways to address them. "We've been retaining experts," he said. "We have 40 experts on these topics, they are going over the topics [and] we're spending quite a bit of money putting together a professional response for the public comment period," he said.
The federal draft report on Cape Wind tries to evaluate the impacts of this massive project. Most issues are classified as minor, ignoring local sentiment. ...The transfer of over $1 billion from taxpayers' hard-earned money to the developer is also a major issue for taxpayers. Let's look at the impacts of this industrial scale project through the eyes of the affected and not the eyes of strangers living far from the Cape and isolated from its impacts. Locals need to speak up now before it's too late.
Is the Massachusetts Audubon Society, with a mission to protect birds, selling them out for a contract worth over 7,000,000 dollars to monitor their deaths? ...The saga of the Massachusetts Audubon Society and the Cape Wind project continues with the January 14, 2008 release of the MMS Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Massachusetts Audubon's lack of follow through on its Challenge to Cape Wind and its permitting agencies, to "Get it right." According to a story written by reporter Beth Delay of the Boston Globe on January 15, 2008, just one day after the DEIS release, Jack Clarke, director of public policy and government relations for the Massachusetts Audubon Society is satisfied that the MMS Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Cape Wind project has addressed the groups concerns, ""They (MMS) have done an adequate and thorough job of reviewing the potential environmental impacts with regard to avian life" he said." It would seem Mr. Clarke has conveniently forgotten "The Mass Audubon Challenge" clearly stated publicly in the media.
However, residents should not view Minuteman's $220,000 carrot as a magic bullet to solve the town's fiscal woes. The payments wouldn't start until the turbines are in use - and that's at least three years down the road. Given the progress of other projects in this state, three years is a decidedly optimistic estimate. The Transcript has generally been against the development of large windmill projects in the Berkshires, largely because of their environmental impact and because of the lack of a cohesive plan on where to site them. We are still undecided about the merits of this particular project ...The townspeople are the ones who will have to live with the turbines. We urge them to consider carefully all the pros and cons before casting their votes at the Jan. 3 special town meeting to consider the Minuteman bylaw.
Mr. Cashman's attempt to sneak past the Massachusetts House of Representatives an amendment to the Ocean Sanctuaries Act as part of a recently passed energy bill shows just what kind of tactics he is willing to resort to in order to build his wind farm. This amendment would clear a major impasse for the development of large-scale industrial wind power plants along the Massachusetts coast. ...In case you are not familiar with it, the Ocean Sanctuaries Act designates approximately 85 percent of Massachusetts state waters as ocean sanctuaries. There is good reason for this. We are fortunate to live in an area of some of the most pristine waters off the coast, but it is also a very fragile ecosystem. Mr. Cashman and proponents of his project would have you believe that it would have no negative effects on the Bay. How is this even logical? First of all, the only way not to affect the Bay is to do nothing; in other words, things stay the same. I certainly can't see how a large-scale industrial power plant could be positive for the condition of the bay, and to say it would have no affect at all is ludicrous. ...This is not about spoiling the view of some rich people. It is about one rich person, Jay Cashman, and him making himself richer. This is about much more than a "NIMBY attitude." It is about preserving a natural treasure, Buzzards Bay.
It's good policy, of course, to encourage renewable energy, and it's also good policy to protect our state waters. When two goods collide, special care must be taken. Was this amendment preceded by thoughtful discussion, expert testimony or scientific findings? Of course not. It arrived late, wasn't posted, and was then wrapped into a bundle of amendments for a voice vote. ...The Senate ...should reject the House's hasty ocean sanctuary override.
As my public statements make clear, I oppose the Cape Wind project because of the numerous unanswered questions about its impact on local fisheries, navigational safety and the local environment and economy. We are now facing the prospect of a private developer essentially seizing, on a no-bid basis, 25 square miles of public lands and waters. I believe that such a project should not go forward until national standards for off-shore wind farms are in place to protect coastal communities. Even though the Worcester Telegram & Gazette disagrees with me on this issue, it does a disservice to its readers when it ignores the detailed arguments I have made against proceeding with this project.
The Cape Cod Commission (CCC) has asserted that the Cape Wind energy project qualifies as a Development of Regional Impact (DRI) under Section 12(i) and 13(b) of the Cape Cod Commission Act. The CCC staff report can be accessed from this page.
Following a public hearing yesterday, the Cape Cod Commission voted to recommend a new adjudicatory process for Development of Regional Impact reviews of energy-related facilities under the jurisdiction of the state Energy Facilities Siting Board. Commission chair Bob Jones of Sandwich advised with a smile that he could save some "heartburn" for audience members by announcing that language making the changes applicable to the Cape Wind project would not be included. Actually, he probably just shifted the upset from backers of the project to its opponents. The latter had hoped Commission action would have established a process that would satisfy the EFSB's standards.
The state's largest commercial fishing organization is publicly challenging assertions by the developer of the Cape Wind project that their offshore wind energy project will actually improve fishing in Nantucket Sound. The Massachusetts Fishermen's Partnership (MFP), which is comprised of 18 commercial fishing organizations, decided to take its message to the airwaves in a TV commercial now appearing on several channels, said Executive Director David Bergeron, "because the public needs to know that sustainable commercial fishing would be impacted and displaced" by the Cape Wind development project on Horseshoe Shoal.
NEW BEDFORD - The Boston developer who wants to build a 300-megawatt wind farm in Buzzards Bay called the results of preliminary bird studies "encouraging" but said it is too early to determine whether threats to endangered terns that nest and feed in the bay could kill the $750 million project. "I am fifty-percent comfortable," said Jay Cashman of Patriot Renewables, LLC., a renewable energy subsidiary of his construction company, Jay Cashman Inc.
These are possible ruinous scenarios that could plunge Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket into economic ruin without fuel, food, medical supplies and tourist dollars able to reach the islands. The result of the relocation of millions of cubic yards of sand will foul the shipping channels leaving the deepest water in Nantucket Sound in and around the 130 Cape Wind Farm turbine foundations. The plot thickens. Cape Wind completes the project, sells the wind farm, pockets millions, moves on without any accountability for what they have left behind. The new owners may say at some point, “This is not working” and abandon the wind farm leaving behind 130 concrete foundations built to specifications that surpass the construction of the World War II observation towers that still dot the eastern shoreline. To date, no one has been able to remove one of these towers. Nantucket Sound will have 130 of these monoliths, a transformer platform with thousands of gallons of cooling oil and hundreds of miles of power cables dangling in several fathoms of water — Horseshoe Shoal is gone! If attempts were made to remove this industrial complex, the blasting concussions and nitrates in the water will kill all marine life in Nantucket Sound. Disaster is only a signature away.
Few are aware of the staggering profit by way of contracts payable to avian specialists in an industry borne from wind towers that kill birds. This service industry is referred to as "Adaptive Management," and/or "long-term environmental monitoring." Its value is $2 million to $3 million first year startup for a wind project, based on the value of Altamont, Calif., wind tower monitoring contracts. These contracts represent $1 million per year paid to the monitor during construction phase, and impose terms as Mass Audubon has in their "Challenge" press release: "We also propose adoption of an Adaptive Management Plan that includes a rigorous monitoring program beginning at the construction phase and continuing for at least three years post-construction." ..........Mass Audubon is in a position to profit by counting bird carcasses, "monitoring," while attempting to "solve" this problem; the industry term for this is "mitigation," if Cape Wind is permitted and construction begins.
Both supporters and opponents of the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm are hailing the findings of recent research on the environmental impact of Danish offshore wind turbines. Supporters of Cape Wind Associates' plan to build 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound say the research released last week at an international conference supports their contention that wind farms pose little threat to wildlife. But Cape Wind foes say the Danish research highlights the need to carefully study the environmental impact of offshore wind turbines on a case-by-case basis.
Five years ago, when developers applied for a federal permit to build the world’s largest offshore wind-energy project off the Cape Cod coast, a widely held presumption was that the project ought to go forward because wind power is inherently good and that Nantucket Sound was as good a place as any to begin the off-shore renewable energy movement. But the Cape Wind project hasn’t moved forward and remains mired in controversy as evidence piles up that its developers chose perhaps the worst location. So, instead of leading the renewable energy movement into the future, Cape Wind may be imperiling that very movement by ignoring legitimate and serious flaws in its project.
The Cape Wind project is proposed for an ecosystem and aviary corridor with documented endangered species, and that is under current and conflicting use as an essential fish habitat. “Clean, green, renewable” is not benign when it represents an industrial-scale wind facility comparable in scale to a land area the size of Manhattan Island proposed to be introduced into this ecosystem. The magnitude of the Cape Wind project, along with the fact that this is nascent technology, merits deep consideration. One consideration that must be evaluated is the objectivity of any agency involved in the permit review process. If, as example, Mass Audubon has a financial stake, for whatever reason, in the outcome of any inquiry, such as the process of accounting for any wildlife mortality that stems from a major power plant such as Cape Wind, then that is a prima facie reason to question the objectivity of the subsequent analysis. That Mass Audubon, or any of its members, would profit from a project it was reviewing, should clue any reasonable observer that the results might be tainted. Mass Audubon’s “preliminary approval” of Cape Wind is taken at face value: “no harm to birds.”
The phrase ''not permittable'' is typically the last thing a developer wants to hear. But that's exactly what the state environmental office has called Boston construction magnate Jay Cashman's proposal to build a 120-turbine offshore wind farm in three clustered Buzzards Bay sites. If Cashman wants to pursue his renewable energy plan, he ''proceeds at the risk of denial'' because the sites fall within the Cape and Islands Ocean Sanctuary, according to a certificate written by former Secretary of Environmental Affairs Stephen Pritchard that lays out the state's scope of review over the project.
A Romney administration report has concluded that a proposal by a prominent Boston developer to build up to 120 wind turbines off Buzzards Bay would violate state law and could threaten an endangered species of bird.