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View Diary: [ED] My detailed dissection of Robert F. Kennedy Jr 's misguided Op-Ed on Nantucket Wind in the NYT (390 comments)

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  •  Why does it have to be off Cape Cod? (4.00)
    Isn't there any other place to put it?  This whole controversy gives wind power a bad name.

    Speaking as someone who has spent much of her life near the New England shoreline, and now lives in New Hampshire - natural wilderness in New England is rare enough that it should be fought for tooth and nail, regardless of whether or not you're a wind power advocate.  Why fuck up Cape Cod?  And no, it's not just a rich person's playground.

    I say, put it somewhere else, or put it far enough offshore that it doesn't affect the view from the beach.

    Sorry, Jerome.

    Perhaps some mighty victory is growing in you now. - Mike Finley

    by hrh on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 06:39:37 AM PST

    •  Well, (4.00)
      Wind over the sea is of a better quality than over land (less turbulence, more regular) and makes it possible to produce more electricity with one turbine. Against that you have the fact that it is more expensive to built a wind farm offshore (you need to build foundations, you need to lay an underwater cable, you need special equipment to bring the turbines) and to operate it (you can't just drive to the turbines). Basically, you cannot build them if water depth is more than 20-30 meters

      So offshore windfarms need to be as close as possible to land to make economic sense.

      As the pictures in my diary show, the visual impact IS much more limited than onshore - the turbines are barely visible most of the time and from most places, so I don't see why it should not be built there, in a state where there still is a lot of fuel-powered, as well as lots pf gas-powered plants.

      In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
      Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

      by Jerome a Paris on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 06:50:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I can see a lot of reasons (3.71)
        why it shouldn't be built there.  Maybe there are ways to resolve these concerns but I don't see you attempting to to that.

        In this diary you come off as overbearing and even bullying.  In your zeal to promote this wind farm, you have brushed off some very important issues.

        You derided the concerns of the Massachusetts Historical Commission as "not serious".  Do you really mean to tell us that you know better about the potential impact on the area than the Massachusetts Historical Commission does?

        What about the fishermen?  Can you honestly say that this wind farm isn't going to affect them and their livelihoods?

        Also, you glossed over this:

        "A transformer substation rising 100 feet above the sound would house giant helicopter pads and 40,000 gallons of potentially hazardous oil."

        Leaving aside for the moment the question of oil, can you tell me where this 100-foot-tall substation is going to go, and what it's going to look like?

        I'm all for wind power, but I don't like this aggressive attitude that attemps to steamroll some very real concerns.

        Perhaps some mighty victory is growing in you now. - Mike Finley

        by hrh on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 07:45:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  100 feet (4.00)
          How can you complain about a 100-foot tall structure?  At a quarter mile, it will appear less than the height of your thumb when you hold it arm's length.  From the shore you'll be lucky to see it at all during the hazy summer days of New England.  (Haze courtesy of photochemical smog produced by everybody driving to the Cape for the weekend.)

          I guess that the silent rain of mercury from coal-fired plants in the Midwest is more tolerable than the visual footprint of a wind farm.  100 feet?  It doesn't even rise as high as a medium size container ship moving north through the shipping channel.  Can we work on banning jet skis first?  Because they are hell of a lot more noxious than any wind farm?

        •  "besieged by bush", (none)
          why did you give me a 2?

          Perhaps some mighty victory is growing in you now. - Mike Finley

          by hrh on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 03:25:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Re rating your post ... (none)
            Re your post, there were several reasons that I gave you a "2".  I thought/think the post was 'marginal' in terms of criticizing Jerome a Paris' analysis without seeming to fully give it the time of day (IMHO) and without, it seems, further delving deeper into the subject.  I went and looked at all the cited material and then went out and read more material re Cape Wind.  The debate in this diary (and elsewhere) sparked me on this -- in part because RFK is a hallowed name for me and I would tend to give RFK Jr a lot of benefit of the doubt.  I wanted to see whether further examination would support or undermine Jerome a Paris' arguments.  It seems like, if anything, the substance for calling RFK Jr's OPED questionable and misleading is much stronger than what Jerome a Paris presented.

            In terms of your post, you criticized, for example, Jerome a Paris for not ceding judgment to the Historical Society.  

            "You derided the concerns of the Massachusetts Historical Commission as "not serious".  Do you really mean to tell us that you know better about the potential impact on the area than the Massachusetts Historical Commission does."

            After having looked at their 'work', as an analyst (and conservationist), I can tell you that it is open to serious questioning.  As far as I can tell, the very definitional approach used for the Historical Commission's examination of Cape Wind made a 'negative impact' judgment an a priori -- it was written into the examination guidelines in such a way that essentially no person honestly following those guidelines could have come up with any judgment other than that Cape Wind would have negative impact.  It is almost like someone making the valid -- but somewhat irrelevant -- argument that adding 1 more plane per day to National Airport would have a negative impact on George Washington's Mount Vernon home.  And, then stating that that impact is enough of a justification for stopping the additional flight since it would negatively impact tourism.  Would that less than 1 percent increase in flights have an adverse impact?  Maybe.  But place it in the context of the existing flights & general situation. Just as some give the 'benefit of the doubt' to RFK Jr, so too do we tend to 'give the benefit of the doubt' to established institutions that seem to merit deference. The MHC seems, based on their Cape Wind work, to have been driven by NIMBY (biased, perhaps, by their funding stream??).  

            Please note that I know that I have given you plenty of 4s in the past and considering that my 4 vs 2 vs 0 ratio is something probably like 18 to 1 to 1, I give out "2s" relatively rarely.  

            9/11/05, Day 1469, A count worth keeping? Or, Osama Bin Forgotten?

            by besieged by bush on Sun Dec 18, 2005 at 07:36:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  you're wrong (none)
              In my post, I pointed out several instances in which Jerome ignored or evaded important issues.  As of yet, he has not responded to any of the concerns I brought up.

              It's not sufficient for Jerome to flip his hand and dismiss the Massachusetts Historical Commission's concerns as "not serious".  If he's truly to act as a responsible advocate for wind power, he has to make his argument.  He has to present his research, explain his disagreements with the Historical Commission's methodology, explain how their concerns will be addressed, etc. etc.  He did none of these things.

              He just blew it off, as he blew off many other legitimate concerns.

              In this case, I do give the "benefit of the doubt" to Kennedy and to the Historical Commission, given their knowledge of the area and potential impacts.  Jerome has admitted he doesn't know about the area.  Given that, he's in no position to make any kind of judgment regarding impact on the area.  If he wants to do the research and present facts that address the concerns of many knowledgeable people and organizations who object to the wind farm, then well and good.  I'm open to hearing his arguments.  

              So I continue to believe that your 2 is misguided.  I don't care what ratings you've given me before, and I wouldn't care if you gave me a 2 for a good reason (e.g., offensive rhetoric).  But in this case I do care because it looks very much like the basis of your rating was mere disagreement.

              Perhaps some mighty victory is growing in you now. - Mike Finley

              by hrh on Sun Dec 18, 2005 at 08:08:32 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I provided (none)
                actual pictures of an actual offshore windfarm (of similar size) as seen from a similar distance. That seems to me like making an argument about the visual impact of an offshore windfarm.

                In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
                Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

                by Jerome a Paris on Sun Dec 18, 2005 at 08:14:40 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  a photo is an argument? (none)
                  That's your only ammunition against, say, the Massachusetts Historical Commission?  "Oh hey, I have a photo here of some windmills in Europe.  There, see?  They look nice!  No problem!"

                  Good luck with that.

                  Perhaps some mighty victory is growing in you now. - Mike Finley

                  by hrh on Sun Dec 18, 2005 at 08:23:37 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  well (none)
                    you can find the argument unconvincing, but you cannot say it's not a relevant argument.

                    The discussion is about whether an offshore windfarm damages the view from shore. I provide pictures plus links for an actual offshore windfarm, where that very same question has been examined. Feel free to say how this is not a good enough comparison, but please acknowledge that it is a relevant argument.

                    In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
                    Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

                    by Jerome a Paris on Sun Dec 18, 2005 at 09:36:12 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  if your photo showed that (none)
                      they weren't visible from shore, you might have a leg to stand on.

                      As it is, the photo clearly indicates that they're visible.

                      You may not think they're ugly or that they impede the view, but you don't have to live there.  You don't even know what the view looks like now, so how can you say that it would be just the same?  

                      In short, you can't use these photos as an "argument".

                      Perhaps some mighty victory is growing in you now. - Mike Finley

                      by hrh on Sun Dec 18, 2005 at 09:43:06 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

      •  I sent you the link ... (none)
        to this site that shows the development of a new column design for wind power that seems even more enviro-friendly (re: bird deaths etc.) and captures 40% of the wind energy that energises it.

        Republicans are convinced that government is the problem and as the government, they're doing their damnedest to prove they're right. -Bearpaw -5.13,-5.63

        by rickeagle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 08:47:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  MY BAD!!! (none)
          it should have been this

          Although that other link is pretty cool too........

          Republicans are convinced that government is the problem and as the government, they're doing their damnedest to prove they're right. -Bearpaw -5.13,-5.63

          by rickeagle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 10:02:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Because that's where the wind is. (4.00)
      The amount of power you get from wind is approximately a funtion of the cube of the average wind speed.  In other words, a place that gets 20mph winds produces 8 times the energy of a place that gets 12mph winds, and twice the energy of a place that gets 17mph winds.

      Nantucket sound is the windiest place in New England, other than a few mountain peaks in VT and NH.

      As to Cape Cod...um...have you been there recently?  Houses with chemical lawns, cheap diners, automobiles, and gas-guzzling "pleasure" boats as far as the eye can see.  Not building on Cape Cod in order to keep is pristine is like not sleeping with a prostitute because you don't want to damage his/her chastity.

      •  Yes, as a matter of fact (none)
        I go to the Cape quite often and was there for Thanksgiving.  My sister-in-law lives there.

        Your rationale of "Oh, it's already fucked up, let's fuck it up some more" doesn't fly with me.

        I think it's reasonable to investigate other alternatives.  The argument here seems to be overly rigid - "this is the only way to do it and it must be done and anyone who objects is a [fill in the pejorative]".  This is the usual tack of developers.  I'm suspicious.

        Perhaps some mighty victory is growing in you now. - Mike Finley

        by hrh on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 07:30:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yep. (4.00)
          I'm up in Truro all the time.  Supporters of Cape Wind here have no idea how pristine of an environment they're messing with, especially with the impact on the whales and fishermen.
          •  Local Residents and Local Economy (4.00)
            Does anyone have an idea how the year-round local residents feel about this?
            I spend time in Truro too, and see the range on Cape Cod from ticky-tack to pristine beauty.
            People here may be forgetting that there is more to the Cape than vacation homes for the wealthy.  There is a year-round population which largely falls towards the lower end of the economic scale and whose economy depends mostly on fishing and tourism.  Tourism, of course, depends in turn on the sea, beaches, views, fish and whales.
            Perhaps Kennedy is trying to reflect the views of the year-round population, who may well be concerned about the effect of this wind project on their local economy.
            If such concerns are valid, they should be respected.  If not, they should be answered with rational reassurances.
            Environmentalists will be confronted with many conflicts between the promotion of alternate energy sources and preservation of natural landscapes.  There are no easy or obvious answers when it comes to feeding the insatiable demand for energy, except conservation.
            •  two notes (4.00)
              1.  I think about views of the bayside, where I am.  It's clear enough that we can see the Plymouth fireworks on the Fourth of July.  I can't imagine disrupting it.

              2.  It really depends which poll you're looking at.  For instance, "Only 31.6% of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard residents favor the project, compared to 46.4% on the Lower Cape, 40.6% on the Upper Cape and 33.7% on the Mid-Cape. The poll found Cape Wind opponents outnumber supporters in towns that overlook Nantucket Sound, 42% to 34%. In all other local towns Bourne, Sandwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown supporters outnumber opponents 44% to 33%."

              But it's clear that there's a lot of money on both sides of the issue.  
              •  I hate hate to say this (none)
                But if the polls of the people in Kennedy's riding are against this, he should have done 2 things.

                1. convince them of the benifits and try and make him see things his way (if he was ever in favour of the project)

                2. If that didn't work I can understand him representing the views of the people he represents.

                What I don't like is th passion in which he seems to be taking up there cause.  I believe he shouldn't have raised his profile for this fight in such a manner.

                Hold meetings have reps come in and present the positives give everyone a chance to be heard and actually see what this would to the "view".  Don't run to the NYT and base the project that has a storng core of support in the area with false arguements.

                NIMBY is a tricky thing since Senators councillors and congress people represent those backyards.  And lets face it if you represent those peoples back yards and they are against the wind farm your in a tough spot.   But I don't like what Kennedy did.

                He should have simply stated the facts, "The people of Cape Cod are against this idea, therefore as there rep I will support there opposition.  However, I do believe in this project and I hope that once the people of Cape Cod are better education upon its impact both visual and fiscal they will hopefully support this project."

              •  Poll Results (none)
                The poll results linked by Adam B have some interesting wrinkles.  Men are substantially more likely than women to support the wind farm.  Holders of graduate degrees are substantially more likely than holders of bachelor degrees to support the wind farm. Residents of Mashpee - the poorest town on Cape Cod, I believe - are strongly opposed to the wind farm.
                The conflict between sustainable energy projects and the protection of natural spaces pits two desirable goals, and it may be instructive to see how different groups of people tend to choose between them.
                If there's any economic correlation in this case, it doesn't look like the opponents are simply wealthy homeowners.
                As for those bay side views, we can walk over to Ryder, where the unobstructed sweep of the Cape's inner curve offers terrific lessons in history, geography and geology.
            •  I was emailing someone from Truro (none)

              who was talking about trying to get their own wind turbine (on-shore in this case, and probably just one).  They were facing regulatory battles about who was allowed to run cables over/under the highway and all that.
          •  Impact on fishermen and whales? (none)
            Do you seriously think they're incapable of avoiding 500 square feet of windmills?

            I mean, the whales, they can navigate across half the planet using sonar and instinct, but throw a few poles up across 500 square feet of ocean and they'll suddenly be all freaked out?

            And the fishermen will only get in trouble with the windmills if they're dumb enough to go trawling between them - and surely they're not that dumb.

            If you want to be negative on this stuff, at least be a little real about your reasons why. You like the coastline up there, you don't want the view spoiled - check.

            Your view is more important than ecology. Check.

            Prefer the existing, pollution-spewing, gas-burning power plants over one that would produce no pollution at all - check.

        •  How are building wind generators (none)
          offshore "fucking it up"?

          It's not as though Cape Cod is an environmental oasis now.  If it were a wildlife habitat, then I would argue against the windmills.  Since Cape Cod is basically just another town (albiet an attractive, priviledged town), why not build it there?  And most of RFK's argument boiled down to "I don't want to look at it".  He has no environmental argument for it not being there.  He is pretty much arguing from the perspective of a rich guy who doesn't want his rich guy life changed in any way.  

          I say we build one on his front lawn.

          "Passing the gun from father to feckless son; We're climbing a landslide where only the good die young." Leaders of the Free World - Elbow -7.38, -7.59

          by Dave Brown on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 11:03:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  maybe if you actually (4.00)
            knew something about Cape Cod, it would help.  First of all, it's not a town.  Secondly, yes, the area is a wildlife habitat.  The Cape Cod National Seashore is a 40,000+ acre national park, for god's sake! Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge is 7,600 acres of protected land set aside for wildlife, especially migrating birds.  And where is that refuge, you might ask?  On an island in Nantucket Sound!  And where is the wind farm supposed to be going?  Hmm?

            By all means, let's not look at facts - let's just engage in the oh-so-enjoyable pastime of bashing the rich.

            Perhaps some mighty victory is growing in you now. - Mike Finley

            by hrh on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 11:24:01 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  My point is (none)
              they're not building it ON the habitat, are they?  RFK Jr. is looking to avoid this for the PEOPLE, not the environment.  

              Yes, I've been to Cape Cod - sorry if I'm not up on American civics - I thought it qualified as a town - villiage? hamlet?  Whatever.  It's a rich community who doesn't want to look at environmental energy being created miles offshore.  Not something I have a lot of sympathy for.

              "Passing the gun from father to feckless son; We're climbing a landslide where only the good die young." Leaders of the Free World - Elbow -7.38, -7.59

              by Dave Brown on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 04:14:55 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  it's not a town or a village (none)
                Cape Cod is the entire peninsula, on which there are several towns.

                And yes, the wind farm will be in Nantucket Sound, so the birds going to the wildlife refuge there will be affected.

                If you want to hold forth on this subject, you really should do a little research first.

                Perhaps some mighty victory is growing in you now. - Mike Finley

                by hrh on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 07:10:49 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  this about the most ignorant post on the thread (4.00)
            Have you ever visited the Cape Cod National Seashore?  Could you spot it on a map?
      •  if nantucket sound is the only place (none)
        to build & they are such super cute erections - why not build 1,000 of them or 10,000 of them there? why not make them each twice or three times as big?
        in the 50s i remember going across country & seeing oil derricks right in the middle of cities in oklahoma. people there thought they were lovely. here in tucson, lots of people think a custom home looks great on the side of a mountain & some think a walmart or home depot is aesthetically an improvement over the desert.
        i find the title & tone of this diary to be an eyesore.

        i'm an agnostic, i'd be an atheist if it weren't for mozart

        by rasbobbo on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 11:06:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  and for every one of these windmills (4.00)
      how many 3 or 4 thousand square foot cul-de-castles go up in New England? Kennedy is right on this one. Not lock-stepping to the "sustainablists" doesn't make one a NIMBY. For every one of those windmills there's what, fifty, a hundred, five hundred or more three or four thousand square foot cul-de-castles going up in New England? I live in Wisconsin, and so don't spend my weekends on Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket. I've been there, and it seems like a pretty poor place for these bird killing whoop whoop machines.

      not the least advantage to "flyover" country is that y'all continue to do that

      by le sequoit on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 08:14:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "bird killing whoop whoop machines"? (4.00)
        I take it you are universally opposed to wind power, then?

        Do you realize how many birds are killed by acid rain from coal-fired plants?  Or habitat destruction?

        Do you have ANY better arguments than that?

        Why are there no dinosaurs in the Bible?

        by Leggy Starlitz on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 08:24:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  i'm not opposed to wind power (none)
          It's just not a solution. It's not the beginning of a solution. Rebuiding the suburbs green one artery at a time, that's a solution.
          Do you realize how many birds are killed by acid rain from coal-fired plants? Or habitat destruction?
          Is that an argument? It carries the same logic as "Clinton did it, too!"?

          not the least advantage to "flyover" country is that y'all continue to do that

          by le sequoit on Sun Dec 18, 2005 at 02:36:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It IS an argument (none)
            If you replace a power plant that kills one million birds by one that kills one thousand birds, it is a very real solution to the bird killing problem.

            If you say "it kills one thousand birds, that's bad, let's not do it" but neglect to say that it helps avoid a million dead birds, then you are objectively in favor of killing birds, despite your best intentions.

            In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
            Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

            by Jerome a Paris on Sun Dec 18, 2005 at 03:14:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Only (none)
              If replacement is what's to happen here, which I seriously doubt. 130 ideally placed turbines are said to, in maximal operation, be enough to provide enough power for about 180 thousand residents. Yeah, and the war will only cost us 60 billion dollars, too. It's a boondoggle, and it's not the first wind farm that is.

              not the least advantage to "flyover" country is that y'all continue to do that

              by le sequoit on Sun Dec 18, 2005 at 05:15:03 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Oh please. (none)
        Can you tell me of one single humungous Cape Cod mansion that ISN'T being built because there isn't enough power to go around?

        "Gee Marge, maybe we should build our new mansion in Nantucket. I hear they have plenty of electricity up there now!"

        Ridiculous.

    •  Why can't people understand (4.00)
      that this wind farm is not going to "fuck up" Cape Cod?  I am someone who holds Cape Cod and the Islands very near and dear to my heart.  I love Cape Cod!  I feel that this project will NOT "fuck up" Cape Cod.  I welcome this project whole heartedly.  We need more wind farms, we need to grab onto alternate forms of energy and run with it.  I am very big on wind and solar.

      Wouldn't you just love to see your New Hampshire winter fuel bill lowered to a more reasonable price?  If our country continues to embrace fossil fuels we will be in BIG trouble in the future.  You think enegry costs are high now?  Just wait.

      If the people lead, the leaders will follow.

      by Mz Kleen on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 09:48:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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