Monday, November 02, 2009

The Politics of Energy #30 - Embarassment of Riches

It has been a national joke really. For years the wealthy denizens of Nantucket, Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard have fought the building of a wind farm off their coasts because it would “spoil their view.” The Nantucket Sound project, Cape Wind, has survived eight years of tortuous federal and state environmental reviews to prove what Europe has know for decades – wind farms produce safe and clean energy. All the studies were but surrogates for the rich who want nothing to do with clean energy if it impacts their beautiful ocean view homes because, well, that’s just the way they roll.

The only “green” around the region has been ordinary folks green with envy; they call a $100 bill a Nantucket single.

Now after all options had been exhausted, Cape Wind was slated to begin construction of 130 440-foot wind towers when out of the blue the local Wampanoag Native American tribe has asked the Interior Department to declare Nantucket Bay a “traditional cultural property.”

The tribe claims that their culture requires them to meet the sunrise each day with an “unobstructed view.” You can’t make this stuff up!

Years ago the wealthy could pay poor folks to go fight in their place in the Civil War. Centuries ago the wealthy in Europe paid the poor to make the Camino de Santiago de Compostela Pilgrimage - Way of St James - on their behalf to find salvation. Today the wealthy of Nantucket, Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard (Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound) pay Native American tribes to claim their cultural heritage is at risk so the rich can save the view from their ocean homes.

As Marie Antoinette was inaccurately aledged to have said long ago, "Let then eat cake." (Qu’ils mangent de la brioche. J’achetai de la brioche.)

Richard L. Wottrich, Blog Editor

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