Thursday, December 01, 2005

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Should Learn to Walk the Walk

RFK Jr. is by most measures a progressive individual. However, his opposition to the Cape Wind development is foolish and hypocritical. How can he criticise Republicans for their insane attitudes towards Global Warming when he opposes one of the largest planned alternative energy projects out there. Cape Wind will be a great step forwar, it's too back RFK Jr. wants to block our way.

11 Thoughts:

Blogger Doug said...

Huh? All I see is a complaint by RFK, Jr. about how MSM has buried evidence of a thermal conveyer-belt slowdown in the ocean.

I see one moron's comment on windmills, but that's the blog section.

Enlighten me.

Thursday, December 01, 2005 2:23:00 PM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

RFK is one of the most vocal opponents of Cape Wind. I guess because his family owns land that will depreciate in value if the "blight" of the windmills obstructs their views of the atlantic.

Thursday, December 01, 2005 9:06:00 PM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

Here's the link that shows RFK's stance, from

Thursday, December 01, 2005 9:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...


I would think a bunch of white windmills would look starkly beautiful against a sky-ocean at various times of the year and day.


Friday, December 02, 2005 7:49:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

From a friend who apparently knows a thing or two (a marine biologist, a huge environmentalist, and a liberal Democrat):

"Actually, the Nantucket Sound project is complicated: there are good environmental arguments to be made on either side. There's more to it than just scenery issues. In California, where's there have been wind-energy projects for decades, the environmental side-effects -- things like migratory birds getting sucked into turbines, stuff like that -- have become a genuine
matter of concern. Nantucket Sound is a particularly vulnerable site in terms of such issues. Personally, I still have high regard for the
environmental achievements of RFK, Jr., and figure that if he's got doubts about the wind project -- whether it's about siting, or something else -- it's worth paying attention to those doubts."

Friday, December 02, 2005 5:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Some more information:

Good and balanced article.

Video, audio, or transcript from the News Hour segment on this.

Friday, December 02, 2005 5:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Based on this, I don't see a problem. However, I see no reason that Cape Wind couldn't kick back some royalties to any individual or company that could prove that the farm adversely affected their income. I realize this opens up expensive legal battles, but perhaps an arbitration regime could be constructed between CW and opposition groups.

And if CW is right, this won't come up anyway, so why not put your money where your mouth is.

The property-value issue seems thornier, as property is worth what people think it's worth. I could definitely see property values go down. So, I see RFK's point about kickbacks for losses there, but that could open a black hole that would sink the project. All in all, I have a hard time believing that when all is said and done, and having been to the Cape and Martha's Vineyard, etc., that any negative property-value effect would obtain, long-term. If property devalues, I sincerely doubt any of the Brahmins will leave -- nor will they leave if the view is obscured by apparently thumbnail-size structures. If anyone were stupid enough to do so, then smarter folks would grab up those properties in a heartbeat, and the value would be right back up.

So, it does seem to be all about the view.

As for pristine views, that's a load of shit. Meaning, sure, it won't be pristine anymore, but that pales in comparison to the benefits.

However, it would be wise for both sides to get their shit straight on this in a cooperative way because if this project tanks, others may not ever get off the ground.

Friday, December 02, 2005 6:00:00 PM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

Yeah, RFK Jr. has done wonderful work. The reason I posted this is that it's interesting to see that even an environmental crusader like RFK Jr. can be influenced by personal choices.

The argument that birds/view outweigh the need for clean energy is very weak. Which is worse, dirty air that causes all sorts of health issues in humans and animals and warms the planet, or the occational dead bird. The choice is pretty simple to me. We also have to take a stronger stance for wind. We need to make this the power alternative for the future. The turbine revolution is really just around the corner. It's just sad that one of the major forces being used to stop it is phoney environmentalism. Anti-wind groups like those opposing Cape Wind are being funded by big oil. Environmental laws are often used by businesses to prevent local competition. It's just sad to see them used to prevent wind power which is so clearly in the national and even global environmental interest.

Friday, December 02, 2005 7:57:00 PM  
Blogger Dragonsbane said...

One thing that the article you mentioned touched on is that the wind farm counts on not having to pay taxes because it is offshore. Which means the local community most affected does not get the benefits normally associated with a business or industry located there. When they say it's not economically viable to move out to the atlantic ocean or onto land, what thet really mean is that they can make so much more money locating on horseshoe shoal that they wouldn't think of locating anywhere else. I live in RI but have sailed in that area all my life, and I'm disgusted that someone would take something that all of us own, privatize it for personal profit, and then complain when others object.

Saturday, December 03, 2005 5:43:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

dragonsbane brings up the key point in RFK Jr.'s opposition -- well, the key point that is a tad worrisome, and exactly for the reasons dragonsbane mentions. (Nice to have you by, dragonsbane!)

I do think that there is a solution, and RFK, Jr. has brought it up -- compensate those in whose backyard you have put up this structure, if such is necessary. There's no good reason for CW not to do this -- except possibly the notion that they'll get hammered by constant lawsuits, which isn't unlikely.

As for profit motive, I'm not exactly a huge fan of it, but it does move mountains, and we have a mountain range's worth of moving to do in order to get us off oil ASAP. So, if CW makes a bundle and helps us get off oil, great. I'm not one for ideological purity -- and I'm not actually ideologically opposed to the profit motive, just to totally unrestrained profit motivation in all spheres all the time. I know, I know, that puts me to the left of Mao in today's right-shifted spectrum, but so be it. LOL.

Given that, and I have to say, as a Rhode Islander now and born New Englander (as is demotiki -- well, now a Bostonian and born and bred in Maine), even if that rebate/royalty thing doesn't occur, I still think the wind farm's benefits, both in and of itself and as a national example, far outweigh even totally legitimate costs and objections, such as these.

This is actually my backyard, in a sense, and I'm happy to see it occur. NIMBY must be overcome or we'll always have the status quo, which is hurtling us toward disaster. I mean, more so.

I live in a mill right on the Blackstone River. When we had those floods, Woonsocket had to open the flood gates. That pretty much flooded us downstream (we're on the fifth floor, but had we not been out that morning, our car might have been trashed, as the river was about 16 feet above flood level), and the clean-up of the detritus on the banks is not only not happening, but will probably not happen.

Opening the flood gates was still the right thing to do, and this is my front yard! We rent, but we might buy, and I'm sure the value has fallen. Oh, well -- I can't justify deaths and economic disaster in Woonsocket by a higher property value for me. It's that simple.

If we had 1,000 wind farms, say (to pick a number at random), would we be involved in the Mideast, just to pick one of the many obvious problems with an oil economy? How many human lives have gone down for oil just since 1991? If a few birds get cuisinarted off the cape, I honestly don't think that outweighs humans being cuisinarted fighting over a liquid that's about to run out.

And I am a member of the Sierra Club, the World Wildlife Fund, and so on. Boy Scout. Camper; love the outdoors. I see the objection, but it just doesn't overcome the benefits, which also help wildlife.

Basically, the key objections can be solved -- the fiscal and the environmental -- by cooperation. But if the other side doesn't want to cooperate, oh, well.

Demo -- do you have data on oil's funding of these guys? Not that I doubt it, but I like primary sources, as you know. :)

Saturday, December 03, 2005 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Demotiki said...


No I don't but I haven't looked. No time, exams coming.

However, I totally agree with your cost benefit analysis. I would also agree that if there's an economic loss to locals, that they should be somewhat compensated. However, we have to fight as hard as we can to make these sorts of energy developments much much easier to complete. The wait times for environmental approvals are killing the wind industry. Capital isn't cheap. Power companies pay a real price for the endless legal battles and waiting that preceeds the construction of even modest wind generation projects. Projects also take up more land than traditional plants and require special locations. When you add the environmental headaches that are often raised by very non-environmental organizations, it really slows the adoption of a technology that may just save us from Middle East oil.

Sunday, December 04, 2005 12:26:00 AM  

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