Liberals Cheer Approval of America's First Offshore Wind Farm

The controversial Cape Wind project will move forward

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After nearly a decade of litigation and millions of dollars spent on lobbying, Massachusetts' controversial Cape Wind project received the final seal of approval from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. With Salazar's permit, Cape Wind Associates will construct 130 wind turbines about five miles off the shoreline in the Nantucket Sound. As The New York Times' Katharine Sleeve notes, the project is "hardly shovel ready," but once construction is completed Cape Wind will be the first off-shore wind farm in the United States.

The project has faced significant opposition since its proposal in 2001, with opponents predicting negative effects on tourism, local ecology, air travel, and historically and culturally significant lands in the Nantucket Sound. Despite the remaining regulatory obstacles ahead, liberals are taking the time to celebrate and reflect on the success of Cape Wind.

  • A Battle Well Fought At True/Slant, Osha Gray Davidson looks on the bright side of the legislative slog surrounding Cape Wind. "Like all energy projects, this has been controversial," reflects Davidson, emphasizing the obvious ecological problems and other "subjective, but still valid" concerns. Despite the lengthy fight, Davidson concludes that Cape Wind "really does represent a major step forward for renewable energy in general and wind power in particular."
  • No Sympathy for Opponents  Joe Klein shares his excitement by deriding Cape Wind's opponents. "This was opposed by fair-weather environmentalists like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (and, sadly, by his uncle) because it would occlude their water views. Tough luck!," says Klein. "I look forward to more wind farms in the neighborhood, perhaps one in Cape Cod Bay--on my favored side of the peninsula. I love the way windmills look. Even more, I love the non-carbonated energy they generate." Business Insider's Henry Blodget chimes in: "Now, the country can finally start developing a huge renewable resource. And a few loaded beachfront homeowners will have to get used looking at tiny white windmills in the distance (the horror!)"
  • How's That for Timing? Mother Jones environmental reporter Kate Sheppard thinks the timing could not have been better: "The project's approval was especially salient in light of the current drilling catastrophe off the coast of Louisiana, where the Coast Guard today announced that it is planning to light the oil spill on fire in order to protect the sensitive coastline."
  • Don't Get Too Excited While the approval of Cape Wind is certainly a victory worth celebrating, Jonathan Adler warns at the Volokh Conspiracy that excessive ebullience may be misplaced. "The project is years behind schedule. In 2002, federal regulators predicted the project could be approved within 18-months, but it’s only now happening eight years later," Adler reminds readers. "In green-lighting the project, Secretary Salazar ordered it to be scaled down significantly and will require the developers to take additional steps to mitigate potential impacts of the development. These conditions, combined with the delays, increase the project’s costs, and could discourage some potential investors in offshore wind and other alternative energy projects.
  • Silly Liberals Writing for Michelle Malkin's conservative site, Doug Powers provides a voice of dissent, citing the Kennedy family's past opposition to the program as a symbol of liberal hypocrisy
The Kennedys, the Kerrys and all the other “green” rich liberal hypocrites had a chance to set an example by “taking one for the team” on the “clean energy” idea they shove down everybody else’s throat. Instead they fought it, proving themselves the hypocrites we all knew they were...

The long and short of it is that the “environmentalist” left sure doesn’t act as if they believe their rhetoric about the earth warming quickly to the point of the extinction of mankind unless we do something about clean energy now. If we’re all really going to die in ten years if nothing is done, would Robert Kennedy, Jr. be arguing about the view from his living room? (don’t answer that)
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.