CAPE WIND NEMESIS NEEDS A NEW STRATEGY
IT IS TIME TO START WINNING THIS BATTLE
Jim Gordon does not have to spend a lot of money defending himself against Cape Wind's opposition because The Alliance To Protect Nantucket Sound is largely a toothless tiger. Since 2001 the Alliance, also known as Save Our Sound or SOS, has lost every round of this battle. Their record to date, depending on how one keeps score, is at best 18 - o and perhaps as bad as 20 - 0 or 21 - 0. All this has cost around $20 million in donated money.
Now that Gordon has a power purchase agreement (PPA) approved by the Massachusetts DPU the real fight begins. Already committed to defeating Cape Wind are environmental and advocacy groups with much stronger records than SOS. for example, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) will pursue court action to stop Cape Wind. PEER is a national group providing cover for whistle blowers. They have a string of significant victories to show for their efforts including a recent court decision in Masscahusetts which brought five approved biomass projects to a halt and has caused the Commonwealth to rewrite its biomass guidelines.
There is also the Associated Industries of Massachusetts. This group has been vocal in its opposition to Cape Wind on grounds of the project's eventual effect on electric rates in Massachusetts. AIM represents interests as diverse as Walmart and local manufacturers. Also, AIM was an intervener in the DPU hearings which resulted in the Cape Wind PPA with NationalGrid. And, beyond these two groups are two Wampanoag tribes, the three local airports affected by Cape Wind, the Passenger Vessel Association, fishermen's groups, an airline pilots association and perhaps at least one very significant national bird protection group.
The point is simple: SOS should reduce its overhead by firing its pathetically inept Washington lawyers. Beyond that SOS should sharpen its focus by concentrating on the ways in which the Cape Wind review process has violated federal laws. Leave the avian issue to people whose mission is to deal with them; leave transportation issues and economic issues to people whose mission it is to deal with them. SOS should focus on the many and varied frauds, errors and omissions of the federal agencies who have broomed Cape Wind to approval. Using the work of true experts in various fields SOS can serve as a unifying influence and become, finally, a successful Cape Wind opponent.
Whatever SOS has been doing it has not worked. Kids who do not play well with others usually find themselves alone in the playground. When its leading voice spoke against the Perkins Coie law firm and its lack of results that voice was silenced and SOS under new and more expensive leadership went on to lose the most critical battles in their war against Cape Wind. There has been virtually no effort by SOS leadership in these past critical months to form alliances with like-minded groups, to pool resources and to form an effective opposition front with many members. The results of the SOS superiority complex are clear and shocking: they have lost on every issue. While SOS has given itself a heady title, the Alliance To Protect Nantucket Sound, what they have in fact become is a self-centered and self-serving exercise in futility.
It is time for the phoenix to rise from the ashes, for Hyperion to bring order out of chaos.
COPYRIGHT 2010 By Peter A. Kenney