Monday, January 26, 2009

Obama's Choice: The People Or Ted Kennedy

Barack Obama likes to talk the talk when it comes to the environment. But will he walk the walk when it comes to opposing one of his chief sponsors, Ted Kennedy?

For all his talk about saving the planet, does he have to stones to go up against Kennedy?
President Barack Obama's enthusiasm for alternative energy is being buffeted by two political forces on opposite sides of plans to build the nation's first offshore wind farm off Cape Cod.

A leading foe of the $1 billion project is Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., an early and influential backer of Obama's presidential bid. A strong proponent is Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a close friend of Obama and a source for some of his best campaign speech lines.

The plan to erect 130 giant turbines across 25 miles of federal waters in Nantucket Sound poses an early test of the president's energy policy, on stark display Monday with Obama's order to re-examine whether California and other states should be allowed to have tougher auto emission standards to combat a build up of greenhouse gases and his directive for the government to get moving on new fuel-efficiency guidelines for the auto industry.

In the final days of George W. Bush's tenure, the Minerals Management Service issued a report saying the wind farm project poses no major environmental problems, clearing the way for the Obama administration to make a final decision on whether to issue a lease for the project. Reviews by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Interior Department's inspector general are still pending.
As I spend time on Cape Cod, I've followed the Cape Wind project with some interest over the years. They claim there would be reduced energy costs for Cape residents and it enjoys fairly broad support. Though of course when it comes to the possibility of helping the residents, the Kennedys naturally crap all over the little people.
Kennedy has fought the Cape Wind project for eight years, arguing it would kill birds and endanger sea life while imperiling the scenic area's tourism and fishing industries. The turbines would stand 440 feet above sea level when the tallest blades are pointing straight up. The Kennedy family's oceanside Hyannis Port, Mass., compound would have a clear view of the project to be located 4.7 miles offshore, but Kennedy says it is not why he opposes the project.

"The interests of our state have been basically submerged to a special interest developer," Kennedy has said of the project.
Sure, nothing to do with his view.

I use the beaches on Nantucket Sound and it wouldn't bother me in the least. The turbines would barely be a blip that far out. The idea it would affect fishing and tourism is nonsense.

Still, I get the felling Obama will gladly throw Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick under the bus much faster than he would Kennedy, so expect some doubletalk from Obama about it affecting pristine waters or some such pap. Obama knows he can do whatever he pleases and the folks there will still overwhelmingly support him, even if it costs them money.
Project backers are wary of last-minute political meddling. They cite attempts in Congress over the years to derail it, including efforts by Kennedy.

"The opponents have proven to be very crafty and to embrace a scorched-earth approach to fighting this project," said Sue Reid of the Conservation Law Foundation, a conservation group supporting Cape Wind. "Of course we are going to be vigilant."
Prepare for a knife in the back, Ms. Reid.

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