Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cape Wind

The Cape Wind project has been approved by the federal government after an extended battle over the issue. For me, this is one of the most interesting not in my back yard battles I've seen in recent years. It certainly amazes me that the party that wants to drill in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge is opposed to Cape Wind. A case of out of sight out of mind? I know I cannot support canceling this project when the main opposition arguments are that it will be ugly and make fishing harder.

I completely agree with those that say the view of the sound would never be the same. Though I feel it will become a national wonder like the Hoover dam. At my dad's cabin on Lake Huron we can see giant wind turbines on the horizon and they are fascinating. We take turns looking through binoculars at them, and I have never once thought that they ruined the skyline. There is a majesty in the sight of wind turbine's cranking away on the horizon that I find tranquil and calming.

On the fishing front, my main issue with the current plan is that it is too accommodating to fishermen. I would love it if the proposed area would be off limits to all industrial fishing operations and become a marine preserve. As much as fishermen might complain I believe the long term benefits to marine and the fisheries off the Cape would far outweigh the short term hardships. Though I know that long term benefits would do nothing to assuage a fisherman that lost his livelihood in the short term.

To be fair, I'm not one of the property owners or fisherman that will be effected by the project. Though if it knocked property values down to a range where I could afford to own a vacation home on the Cape I wouldn't complain about the view. I can understand their concerns, but when I weigh a future where the Cape is under water from global warming or the Cape has a view of wind turbines in the Sound I'll take the wind turbines. I am not so naive to think this project alone would make a difference, but I think it is a stepping stone to a solution.

I'm sure there will be plenty of legal challenges to it, but with everything I know about I really hope I'm around to see this project rise above the waves. If it's opponents do manage to kill this project than I know I will lose even more of my hope for the future of our planet.


Diana/ Garden on the Edge said...

I'm slightly in favor of this wind farm project. While the turbines might cause aesthetic concerns for people what concerns me is their affect on birds. Wind Turbines do kill countless birds, especially during migration (the majority of birds migrate at night). There are ways to minimize bird deaths and it would be nice to see them making an effort there but this is a case of weighing the various risks and, honestly, the current way we generate energy is MUCH more harmful to the planet.

I like your idea of making the area around the turbines a preserve with no fishing allowed. Studies have shown that no-fishing zones actually INCREASE fish catches in neighboring waters. It's just hard to see that since the effect takes years to show up. Easy for me to say we're overfishing the oceans, my livelihood is not at stake (then again I'm teaching at a community college where a LOT of my students are having to switch careers because of the economy so why should fishermen be exempted from having to change careers?).

Thanks for the post.

Walt said...

I love the idea of making it a marine preserve - those do so much good for the surrounding areas.

I also am totally in favor of this project - I would love to see an Apollo like program to make America renewable energy independent by . . . 2050? Maybe.