Urgent Action Required To Save Cape Wind!!!

  In an 11th hour, blatant, political move that is similar to the one Ted Stevens tried to pull in 2005, earlier Friday, Congressman James Oberstar (D-MN) launched an effort to derail the regulatory review process for Cape Wind–a proposed windfarm of 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound off Massachusetts.

Oberstar has issued a letter to Commandant Thad Allen of the Coast Guard "requesting" an extraordinary and unprecedented review of the Coast Guard’s ruling which states that the Cape Wind project does not present any navigation hazards.

Oberstar’s letter comes at the request of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, a group backed and fronted by Bill Koch, CEO of Oxbow. Oxbow’s primary businesses are the mining and marketing of energy and commodities such as coal, petroleum coke, oil production, and composite pipe manufacturing. The Alliance’s central mission is to stop Cape Wind, no matter what it takes and have spent well over $15 million dollars, primarily on lawsuits, lobbying efforts and deliberate public relations campaigns promoting fear mongering and misinformation.

Oberstar’s request is clearly an attempt to delay and create further obstacles for Cape Wind at a time when the country needs and is ready to move toward renewable power. Further, he is threatening wasting Coast Guard and taxpayer resources on hearings over the issue at a time when our Coast Guard has much bigger issues to deal with, including protecting and inspecting our nations ports in the name of national security.

So we need your help to stop this maneuvering, and here’s how.

You and everyone you know should:



1. Call Chairman Oberstar’s offices

Washington DC: (202) 225-6211

Duluth, MN: (218) 727-7474

Tell him he should withdraw his request to the Coast Guard Commandant.

Tell him


The Coast Guard is in an "informal adjudication" that was focused on the facts at hand and application of previously settled laws and regulations. It is not a rulemaking requiring notice and comment.
Cape Wind is critical to our renewable energy needs and our national security.
He shouldn’t be playing games with the Coast Guard at a time when our ships and ports need to be secure and that should be there focus.
  2. Call the Coast Guard’s public affairs office: Telephone: 202-372-4620

Tell them you support their efforts and to stand up to Oberstar’s bullying and that the American people support Cape Wind and clean renewable energy.



  3. Go to Commandant Thad Allen on his Facebook page:

Tell him you support him and will join him in standing up to Oberstar’s bullying and that the American people support Cape Wind and clean renewable energy.


See more on the flip side




Please join clean and help America move to a green economy.


All major advancements towards a more civil, just, and equal society–civil rights, suffrage, abolition, democracy itself–have occurred because an organized, community-based movement educated their fellow citizens and mobilized opinion and action behind specific policies that benefited them and the common good.

We believe that reshaping American energy policy requires no less of an effort, and, to this end, CLEAN will methodically organize the citizenry and then properly execute our coordinated power.

CLEAN is a collaborative movement of state and local organizations and individuals who will force and support policy makers at all levels of government to implement new energy policies. The policies we desire are based on decentralized control of energy, whereby energy is generated by regionally appropriate, reliable, and renewable resources, such as wind, solar, and geothermal. We seek policies that will protect our environment, cease and reverse global warming, disentangle the US from unstable regions of the world, and create a new energy economy that promises jobs and a sustainable and equitable economic prosperity.

American energy policy is overly influenced or outright controlled by the major, non-renewable energy providers–Coal, Nuclear, Oil–and not by the United States citizenry or for our common good. This energy policy and the political climate that enables it has created a reliance on fossil fuels that now endangers our health, environment, security, and economic prosperity.

CLEAN will advance this new energy future by educating and coordinating the citizenry to exercise its own power and influence and reclaim its rightful role in democratic self-determination.

Other Links

Boston Herald | Minn. Congressman seeks delay to Cape wind farm

Cape Cod Today| Congressman: Delay Cape Wind; Says hearings are possible

PR News Wire | TheClean.Org and Clean Power Now: Rep. Oberstar Interference With Cape Wind Process in Direct Conflict With His Stated Renewable Energy Policy

The links to the letters from Oberstar and the Alliance are:
-Oberstar 1st Leter: http://v1.apebble.com/static/from-oberstar.pdf

-Oberstar 2nd Leter: http://bowes3.com/letter/Obersta_letter.pdf

-Alliance Letter: http://v1.apebble.com/static/alliance-to-coast-guard.pdf

The link to Commandant Thad Allen’s Facebook page is: –



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28 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Dates

    The Oberstar letters date from September.  Are you sure they aren't ancient history?

  2. sorry got the wrong letter

    I'm trying to find the letter now.

  3. This smells badly.

    Why would a Minnesota congressman be doing this?  Who are the Massachusetts politicians/lobbyists that he is fronting for?  How about the courage to name names, even if they are your "friends" on other issues?

    • We all know who they are; it's one more reason I am ashamed to be represented in Congress by Kennedy, Kerry and Delahunt.

    • it is under the jurisdiction of his committee

      Oberstar is the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which oversees the Coast Guard. See the article in today's Globe.

      Not that it makes it right, and I'm as frustrated as anyone by the ongoing delays, but it isn't like someone requesting this out of the blue.

  4. NIMBY

    Best, Chuck

    • stand on the beach

      put your thumb out at arm's length in front of you. Your thumb would cover the wind turbines on the horizon.

      • Correction:

        Your thumb nail would cover the turbines, if you could even see them at all.  Most days aren't perfectly clear, and IIUC, they'll be painted gray/blue like the water and air, making them difficult to see at a far distance but not difficult to see from close up.

  5. Massachusetts getting left in the dust

    Despite ample wind energy resources,1 Massachusetts generates a minuscule percentage of our energy that way.  Nor has that increased in recent years.  In 1990, renewables, excluding hydroelectric, accounted for 2.4% of the energy generated in Massachusetts, by 2006 that had gone down to 2.1%.2  Meanwhile, in Texas, renewable energy went from 0.2% to 2.9% in the same period.3

    Those numbers don't even include the massive boom in wind farm construction that has occurred in the "red" states in the last two years.  By September of this year, wind power production for 2008 was up 38.7% over 2007 with Texas and Colorado accounting for 54.8% of the increase.4 While we waste years and millions of dollars in lawsuits and needless delays, other states have been building like gangbusters.

    1 http://www.windpoweringamerica... 2 http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/e... 3 http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/e... 4 http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/e...

    • That's not entirely accurate

      and at the risk of comparing apples to oranges, since we are interested in the apples, here's some more numbers via


      Elec generation in MA: * Coal 23% * Nat Gas 31% * Oil 26% * Nuke 11% * Hydro 2% * Renewable non-hydro 7%

      Your data is looking at all energy, including for heat and for transportation.  It's not really reasonable to compare Texas and Massachusetts in that way, both because of differences in heating needs and infrastructure, and because Texas consumes more energy than any other state [5th per capita] and Mass consumes less energy than nearly any other state [22 overall, but 48th per capita].  These are 1999 numbers; I doubt that the per capita has changed very much since then.

      Now, whether its by virtue or by accident, MA infrastructure is designed to use less fuel than Texas infrastructure.  We have more mass transit, tighter zoning, stricter building codes, more skilled building tradesmen, and so forth.  It's also worth noting that our RPS requirements, which ratchet up the percent of electricity that must be renewable, are roughly 11th in terms of strictness by 2025, although I'd rank us better than that because our fines for non-compliance are sufficiently high to get utilities to play ball, and because our increases are annual and relatively gradual, meaning we get more benefits in the intermittent periods and we're more likely to get compliance because utilities won't put construction/contracts off until the last minute and them come up short.  Texas' requirements are very small and, as a result of Texas' energy economy and rich wind resources and vast wide open spaces with wind potential and few people, Texas is way ahead of their requirements.

      So: do we need Cape Wind?  Yip, and also some off the coast of New Bedford and Providence [subject to legit siting concerns like maritime transportation, fish and bird, etc].  I wonder if we couldn't get a few on the islands nearest Boston, like Long Island, Paddock Island, Georges Island, etc.

  6. Solar Energy also looking attractive

    I found this in a recommended Daily Kos diary: Massachusetts is the second most cost effective state for solar power. (California is #1) This is not because we have more solar energy available than other states, but because our power costs are the highest in the nation. Other New England states score well because of the same dynamic.

    Here is the report in question: http://www.toplinestrategy.com...

    As a side note, Does anyone know why our costs are so high? California is expensive because of the whole deregulation screw up in 2001-2002, which they're still paying for, but New England doesn't make any sense. Sure our transmission costs are somewhat higher due to our snowy winters, but states in the Midwest also have snowy winters, yet pay less than half per kilowatt hour than we do.  

    • Cheap coal

      US. Averages, 2006:

      Coal 49% Petroleum 2% Natural Gas 20% Other Gases 0% Nuclear 19% Hydroelectric Conventional 7% All Other Renewables 2% Pumped Storage 0% Other 0%

      MA, 2006:

      Coal 24% Petroleum 5% Natural Gas 51% Other Gases 0% Nuclear 13% Hydroelectric Conventional 3% All Other Renewables 3% Pumped Storage -1% Other 2%

      Compare and contrast...

      • I'm not convinced that's sufficent to explain the difference

        California generates 0% of it's power from coal1 and has massive surcharges to retire the debt that their utilities incurred during the 2001-2002 power crisis,2 yet still pays less than us.  Also getting 25% of our energy from NG rather than coal shouldn't double the total amount we're paying. Coal is cheap, but it's not that cheap. Some of the states with the lowest costs are the ones with largest hydroelectric dams, like Oregon and Washington.  California also has a lot of hydro power, so that may partially explain it.

        The chart, for some reason, excluded Hawaii, which pays much more than even we do.  This makes sense though, since all their energy supplies must be shipped there.

        1 This is deceptive because California utilities built several large coal plants just across the Nevada boarder after the ban was passed. These account for about 15% of California's energy supply.

        2 The crime of the century, if you ask me, but that's a longer story.

        • You're tough

          And I think I agree with you.

          CA does have a lot more hydro (22% of total), which is probably old and cheap.

          I'm looking at http://iso-ne.org/ for stuff on the cost structure.  Could be our transmission/distribution lines are in rough shape, our costs to supply peak load may be really high, or maybe our IOUs and their regulators are just squeezing us (my muni currently charges $0.10 per kWh for residential, which is way below MA average- but our contract with coal-burning Constellation expires in 2009)...

          • Peak load is one of the things that hydro helps a lot with

            Need more power? Just release from the dam.  Having meters that are sensitive for time of day and charge more accordingly (like telephones) could help with this.   Another thing that some utilities have done is to give customers a large discount if they're willing to be shut off during peak power shortages.  This is cheaper than having to buy power on the spot market, which can be extremely costly.

            • Depends on the dam

              you can't just lower the water willy-nilly... you've got to worry about the impact on the wildlife as well as sediment.

              You can do a bit, but the bit that can be done is done every day, since peak power is always more valuable.

              To begin to figure out why we're more expensive, try to figure out if our distribution costs are higher or our supply costs.  If it's supply, then the argument that our elec infrastructure is old perhaps has merit.  If it's our supply, then it has everything to do with (a) our fuel mix, (b) our pollution restrictions, (c) our supply lines of natural gas, rail, etc, and (d) our peak vs. nighttime differential relative to other states.

              From a climate change perspective, the problem isn't that Massachusetts electricity rates are high -- it's that other states are too low.  Sure enough, per capita usage of electricity is tightly negatively correlated with electricity prices.  The best way to guess how much electricity is used in the state isn't geography -- it's price.  Some of that might be due to elec-intensive industry locating at cheap electricity states, but I don't think that's the lion's share.  People just waste more when it's cheap.  They also don't have financial incentive to build/renovate/retrofit with high efficiency construction, HVAC, or appliances.

              You're right that time-based metering would help reduce the overall amount paid for electricity -- but it would actually raise daytime rates even higher, especially in summer.  Nighttime electricity prices would fall quite a bit, as would spring and fall rates.

              • supply... typo

                Should be

                "If it's distribution, then the argument that our elec infrastructure is old..."


              • Misc. thoughts

                A few thoughts:

                Time of use:

                While from a theoretical perspective it's the best way to go, in practice I'm not a huge fan, because:

                If made optional, the folks most likely to make use of it are already/able to shift load to the off-peak time quite easily, so the main impact is lost revenue for the utility.

                If made mandatory, people will freak.  Maybe they shouldn't, but they will.  Even if the whole thing is revenue-neutral.  Also, people will then focus on shifting load, rather than reducing load, which is a better thing to focus on.

                You're also looking at a pretty substantial meter replacement cost.

                So, while time of use makes sense, I'm not a big fan.  

                Demand Mgmt / Peak supply:

                There is money to be had already to reduce peak demand.  EnerNOC has a business based on it.  My muni utility is planning to offer incentives on solar and micro-CHP (with peaking capability, which is not available just yet) not because it's green (that's not a big motivator for them at present, unfortunately), but because both can provide a little additional peak supply.  My utility also works with a demand mgmt company (not EnerNOC), but only focuses on loads 100kW that can be turned off at peak times.

  7. so many problems

    with the concept.

    First is the problem of allowing such a facility to be achieved for profit.  It is hard for me to understand why, after all the abuses of public utility supply by large for-profit companies, we continue to believe that this project should be built by one.  Imagine how much better every penny spent by both sides to address this project could have been spent on grants for home solar and wind conversions.

    Second is the stupidity of the process.  For 6 years now we have been fighting over this because of the unwillingness of the company to think outside the box.  True, there are many places where such a set of towers would not generate as much electricity as they might out there in horseshoe shoal, but as soon as it was obvious that the obstructionists were going to fight forever, like about 5 years ago, only the lawyers became the ones to profit.  It's not like the Cape doesn't have a terminal moraine, and not like that moraine isn't the highest place on land.

    Third, the farm does not address the core problems of energy use in our society, which are abject failure to conserve and inability of the earth to sustain perpetual growth, especially population growth.  

    No.  Sorry.  I don't believe the project is the correct solution, and, as someone on fuel assitance who lives right at the poverty line, how happy I would have been 14 years ago, when I bought my house, to have had a grant to install power systems which would bring me closer to independence from profit-making energy suppliers entirely.  Instead I live at 60 degrees, hoping for yet another grant for gas which only enriches nStar and pollutes our atmosphere.

    Individually, many humans are quite smart.  As a group we're really dumb.

    • core problems of energy

      Of course, NO power producing facilty adresses the "core problems of energy use". This is delay piled up delay by legal manuvering and politics. We need this project and many more like it NOW.

    • Elfpix - the perfect is the enemy of the possible.

      Would you have stopped Pasteur from heating up milk because there were still sanitation issues unaddressed in the food chain?

      How can you expect any power plant - even one built by the aliens on Atlantis SG-1 - to cope with overpopulation (unless human flesh is a power source?).

      You endorse rich classists like Ted Kennedy to have veto power over a power project because it might interfere with his sailing?  We on Cape are done tugging our forelocks to the forever-fighting 'obstructionists'.

      Lastly - the only reason this green plant might be built is BECAUSE it is private.  Goernmetn down't have the money for a risk, and a private developer absorbing loss in the event of failure is a GOOD thing.  Government can barely afford the existing grant program (you DO know there was and is a grant program, right?  You just failed to utilize it) let alone a full blown utility.

      Go have another granola bar - it'll warm you right up.

  8. Before most of you speak, you should check the FACTS.

    There was a USCG conference held last October in Falmouth discussing radar and navigation as it relates to this project. At the forum, dueling radar analyses were presented to USCG Capt. Raymond Perry that drew different conclusions on the impact of the proposed wind turbines. According to Raytheon principal engineering fellow Eli Brookner, there are three potential problems Nantucket Sound wind turbines could pose for radar.  "If you had a small vessel located in what we call the side lobes you wouldn't see it, and so it could be a hazard not seeing that target," Brookner said in a telephone interview yesterday. Side lobes are radar beams that spill over from the main beam and can cause "clutter," Brookner said. Additionally, so-called "shadowing" can occur when turbines or ships behind the closest turbines may be obscured on radar screens, he said. Finally, radar systems that automatically track targets may "swap" a moving target such as a ship with a stationary turbine, Brookner said.

    At the end of a radar and navigation forum, Raymond Perry, captain of the port for Sector Southeastern New England, announced a  $100,000 study which would be completed by December. During which USCG Capt. Raymond Perry assured one and all that they would allow for a period of public comment once their radar report was complete and published.

    Then USCG Capt. Raymond Perry changed his mind and issued his verbal approval of the CW project without even making his report available for anyone to see. He is deep hot water with Coast Guard superiors because he caved in to pressure form Rodney Cluck at MMS. Apparently the rules should be followed only when Cape Wind controls the game...not in any impartial way to ensure public safety.

    Cape Wind opponents are just asking for the public review and comment period USCG Captain Raymond Perry promised they would have, but which he has now denied them. They are also asking for him to keep his promise that there would be a full conference to discuss air/sea rescue and how or if the wind farm would affect such operations. That is all they are asking. Apparently Cape Wind trumps democracy.  

    • just?

      Cape Wind opponents are just asking for the public review and comment period USCG Captain Raymond Perry promised they would have, but which he has now denied them.

      That is all they are asking.

      Just?  They've certainly asked for a whole lot more than that, and will continue to do so long after this issue is resolved.

      More to the point, they're grasping at any reason to oppose the project, regardless of how that reason impacts them.  That's lousy.  If DoD et al are worried about RADAR, let them deal with it.

      P.S. Democracy and NIMBY delay are most certainly not synonymous.  In fact, the majority of C&I residents and citizens of MA are for the turbines, so cries of democracy being circumvented are stupid and factually incorrect.

  9. Let's not compromise public safety with Cape Wind

    The Coast Guard Cape Wind Radar Workshop was held on  October 7, 2008.  Participants at this workshop were informed by Captain Raymond Perry on this day that there would be a second Coast Guard Cape Wind Radar Workshop scheduled, and this did not occur.  

    Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Oberstar; and Chairman of Nantural Resources Committee Nick J. Rahall II, who serves on Oberstar's Committee, indeed should be involved.  

    The U.S. Coast Guard Cape Wind Radar Study was not made available by TRC to the U.S. Coast Guard until the late afternoon of December 16, 2008.

    However; eleven days in advance of the Coast Guard's receipt of the Radar Study, U.S. Coast Guard Captain Raymond Perry went to the press to announced the C.G. Radar Study findings:

    Boston Globe: 12/06/08 'Coast Guard: Radar OK amid wind farm'

    'Coast Guard: Cape Wind Farm No Problem For Radar' By Associated Press BOSTON, MASS. - December 07, 2008 -

    Cape Cod Today: 12/19/08 'Boats remain visible in simulations, if obscured for short periods of time' By James Kinsella

    From this Cape Cod Today 12/19/08 article:

    "The corporation submitted its report on Tuesday to the Coast Guard."

    The Coast Guard radar report was then delivered to the Coast Guard on December 16, 2008; while it is reported in the Boston Globe that the 'Coast Guard Signs off on Cape Wind' on December 5, 2008.  

    It appears that the U.S. Coast Guard has assumed an advocacy position of the Cape Wind project based on time-line, and the U.S. Coast Guard interaction with the press.  While, the Coast Guard mission is to "PROTECT THE PUBLIC, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND U.S. ECONOMIC INTERESTS"; the U.S. Coast Guard actions indicate the mission of the U.S. Coast Guard is compromised.  It follows that public safety, in the context of Cape Wind as proposed for Nantucket Sound, is also compromised by the U.S. Coast Guard.

    Public safety concerns regarding Cape Wind have resulted in the strenuous objections to this project voiced by all three airports and Cape TRACON Air Traffic Controllers who guide approximately 400,000 annual flights in this airspace.

    The Wood's Hole, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority SSA Cape Wind MMS Scoping comment to MMS:

    "My name is Captain Charles Gifford, I am the Port Captain for the Wood's Hole, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket Steamship Authority.  I'm a U.S. Coast Guard licensed Master Mariner and an approved instructor at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy."

    "The Steamship Authority annually makes 22,000 trips transporting close to three million passengers and over 600,000 cars and trucks to the Islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. It is our opinion that the 130 wind turbines planned for Horseshoe Shoals and Nantucket Sound has a potential for creating a significant hazard to safe navigation for our vessels and other users of the waterways."  

    Captain Charles Gifford of SSA did not know then what he knows now about wind turbines creating radar interference.

    "We found it very difficult for one vessel to see another vessel," Perry said."


    The contributor citing Dr. Eli Bookner of Raytheon must have been in attendance as I was at the October 7, 2008 Coast Guard Cape Wind Radar Workshop. 'Before most of you speak, you should check the FACTS' practices what they preach.

    Sean Corcoran of WGBH relates his unique Coast Guard Radar meeting experience:



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