Why Do Wealthy Liberal Hypocrites Oppose Windmills in their "Playground"?
Nine-year wind farm fight splits Cape Cod
Falmouth, Massachusetts (CNN) -- The Rev. William Eddy stands at the bow of his 53-foot sailboat nestled in the postcard setting of Cape Cod.
A lifelong resident of the Cape and islands, Eddy built his staysail schooner by hand, and on this day, he's using it as his pulpit. A perfect storm, he says, has been brewing over the past decade among residents driven to hysterics by the idea of building the nation's first offshore wind farm in the middle of Nantucket Sound.
Eddy loves everything about the Cape: the iconic shingled homes, the Norman Rockwell small towns and the pristine beauty of the sea. Most of all, the Episcopal priest loves the magnificent winds.
And he thinks it's a moral imperative to harness those winds. He's told his congregation just that -- and watched some walk out on his sermon. "Father, we all would've stayed if you had just preached about Darfur," one member told him.
Eddy is unbowed. "It's a no-brainer," he said of the wind farm. "I keep on wondering what's going to happen down there in Washington: Are they going to crucify this project on a cross of coal? Or are they going to stand up for what they've said they're going to stand up for?"
For those whose views differ from Eddy's -- including, apparently, some of his flock -- the pristine beauty he extols is the point. Nantucket Sound, they say, is an iconic symbol of America, not an industrial park. Might as well plop a bunch of wind turbines in the middle of the Grand Canyon, they say.
"It's an area that absolutely should be off-limits," said Audra Parker, president and CEO of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound.
Wind farms produce roughly 2 percent of the nation's energy, all from land-based facilities in California, Texas, Oklahoma, Wyoming and a few other states. Locations offshore are considered optimal because the winds are stronger and more consistent.
Even the project's opponents acknowledge that the Sound is rich in an inexhaustible resource that could power the region. Horseshoe Shoal, where the turbines would be located, is shallow, the winds are constant, and the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard provide a barrier from large waves.
There's no doubt the project would bring a new vista to the horizon. The 130 turbines, spaced a third- to a half-mile apart, would cover about 25 of the 500 square miles of Nantucket Sound. They would stand more than 40 stories tall, bigger than the Statue of Liberty and well over 10 times taller than nearly every other structure around the Cape. They'd be several miles out in the Sound but within view from some locations.
The wind farm would bring hundreds of jobs and provide up to 75 percent of the power needed by the Cape and islands, according to Cape Wind, the company behind the project.
It wouldn't necessarily bring cheaper electricity, but it would be cleaner and a model for the rest of America, Cape Wind says. The Cape currently gets much of its power from a nearby coal and natural gas plant.
The battle over the venture -- dozens of public hearings and nine years long -- has split members of American Indian tribes and pitted some of the nation's wealthiest people against each other. Liberals have squared off against fellow liberals. The most notable opponent was the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, whose family compound would have a view of the wind farm.
The late Walter Cronkite also raised objections to those "big ugly things," although he later said he preferred to remain neutral on the issue. ....