Native Americans say the turbines will spoil their sunrise ceremonies
US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has approved controversial plans for the country's first offshore wind farm to operate off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The plan would see 130 wind-powered turbines erected in the shallow waters of the sound, visible from the Kennedy family compound in Hyannisport and other Cape Cod estates.
But the late Senator Edward Kennedy strongly opposed the idea, which some fear would spoil the seascape. Native Americans in Massachusetts have also argued the turbine blades would desecrate the view of the sunrise that is essential to their prayer ceremonies.
BBC News website readers in Massachusetts have been sending their reaction to the decision:
As a neighbour of the wind farm I am relieved that it can finally proceed. People who don't live here have bucolic images of the Cape from long ago as a pristine seascape. Those of us who try to earn a living here know we need to keep up with sustainable technology and this wind farm is a very good way to do it. Who knows, we may even make a few bucks renting telescopes to tourists so on a clear day they can find the tiny specks on the horizon that are the wind farm.
Douglas Butler, Centerville
I drive along the shore where the windmills could be seen - on a daily basis. I've seen them in Europe and I think they're beautiful, like huge birds. It's a good idea for clean, renewable energy and I'd rather see them than an oil rig with their ugliness and potential of spills and other catastrophes such as the recent explosion/fire/deaths/spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
F Gould, Centerville
While I support green energy initiatives, it's devastating to me to see this project go forward. The location was chosen because it is the cheapest place for the private developer to build a wind farm, allowing for more profit for them. The 130 turbines will destroy one of the most historic regions of our country, which was the fishing ground of the Pilgrims, the setting of Moby Dick, and one of the last areas still occupied by Native Americans. Cape Wind will harm the wildlife of the area, the local fishing industry, as well as being a hazard for transportation.
Amir Farhadi, Cape Cod
The proposed wind turbines will be nothing more than an eyesore on the horizon. Every time any project that will "pay for itself" is completed in this state, the taxpayer ends up picking up the tab for the "budget over-run". When the Mass Turnpike was opened as a toll road some 30 odd years ago the toll booths were going to be removed within five years, but guess what? They are still there and will probably never be removed. When they ran an undersea electric cable to Nantucket Island we were promised "cheaper electricity" but yet again guess what? We pay probably the highest rates for our electricity in the entire nation. Why destroy a beautiful view for a white elephant that will never supply what it says it will?
John Daly, Nantucket
I find this wind farm gives me more of a reason to spend time on Cape Cod, and feel better about where my power is sourced from. The nearby nuclear plant is precarious with its pollution and safety, as is coal and oil. I am happy about this, after such a long road. This should bring great pride to Cape Codders, who for the most part value the natural environment and green energies such as wind.
Christoph, Part time Cape Cod, Provincetown
Not long ago a few wind turbines were installed on North Haven. The noise is disruptive enough, but the operating cost of the equipment and the marginal amount of power generated come at an inordinately high price. Not only are bird strikes frequent, but the very high cost to the tax payers for intermittent marginal power presents a very strong case against further government driven intervention. If not for the subsidies, then not one turbine would have been built. For all the hue and cry over 500 ducks killed when flying in to Suncor's treatment ponds in Canada, have we heard one word about the thousands of birds killed in Maine or California over the last nine months ? No, not a word from any major media source. Perhaps Salazar needs to take up hang gliding or parasailing off Nantucket.
Mark G Avery, Dark Harbor, Maine
I have long been a supporter of wind power. Here in Worcester, Holy Name High School constructed a wind turbine and now produces all of its electricity and more. I do not find it ugly but rather majestic. It sits atop one of Worcester's seven hills and can be seen from nearly all parts of Worcester. It is a reminder that we can do better in our quest for more and more power. Wind and sun are sources of power that will never threaten our existence the way oil gas and nuclear power do. You will probably never find a terrorist trying to blow up a wind mill or a solar panel.
Diane Boover, Worcester
I am a Boston resident and have always supported alternative energy solutions to replace the rabid oil consumption this region experiences during the winter. The Cape Wind project has been a hot topic for over a decade and would certainly receive much more support if it ran along the north or south shore of Massachusetts rather than in the treasured Cape and Islands area. During the frequent debate over the matter, I have never heard an explanation for why the Cape is a more necessary location than a town on the shoreline that would like to host the turbines. Regardless, I think it is a necessity for residents as heating bills during the winter are incredibly difficult to live with. There are many working class towns on the coast that would happily host the turbines if residents got a special tax break and it created new jobs to maintain the turbines.
Jared W, Boston
This is wonderful news! We have fought long and hard to make this wind farm a reality and this is an important victory and precedent for progressive energy policy. I live within one mile of the Cape Cod Canal which has an industrial energy station that is one of the most hideous eyesores I've ever seen, blocking one of the most beautiful views on earth. I always wondered how people, including my hero, Ted Kennedy, could make an argument against the wind farm because of the views in Nantucket Sound when comparing the beauty of a wind farm to the monstrosity of the energy plant currently polluting our view and the environment.
Elizabeth Swanson Goldberg, Sandwich
Although impacts on the fishing industry and Native American rights are legitimate issues, pioneering wind energy is definitely considered a noble cause in this liberal Massachusetts. We should be proud of our efforts for clean, renewable energy. The rest is just an aesthetic issue and with time, people will eventually get used to seeing wind turbines in the seascape. I'm sure the wealthy, especially the Kennedys, can afford a sore spot in their ocean view from their seaside cottages.
W. Li, Malden