Teddy's $52. a mile Helicopter ride

GE workers work for wind, will meet with Ted:

By Jay Fitzgerald/ HERALD EXCLUSIVE

Blue-collar General Electric workers in Lynn have launched a campaign to support a planned Nantucket Sound wind farm project vehemently opposed by many of the rich and famous residents of Cape Cod and the islands.

 Leaders of the IUE-CWA Local 201, which represents 2,500 workers at GE's Riverworks plant, are passing out petitions and meeting with lawmakers in an effort to promote wind energy and possibly create hundreds of manufacturing jobs in Lynn.

GE, via its wind-energy unit, is in line to land the more-than-$200 million contract to build the 130 giant wind turbines for the proposed project, spearheaded by Cape Wind Associates. "It's the potential for long-term work for us," said Jeff Crosby, president of the local.

"We're hoping to make components (for the turbines) in Lynn." The Riverworks plant primarily makes jet engines, but has been lately building experimental gear boxes for wind turbines, he said.

Union leaders plan to meet Tuesday with U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), who's a close friend of labor but opposes the proposed wind farm just off the coast of his family's Hyannis compound. "No one has been a greater champion of bringing jobs to Massachusetts," a Kennedy spokesman said in a statement yesterday. "But he will continue to oppose wind farms off our shores until we put into place a coherent policy and process to guide offshore energy development."

U.S. Rep. John Tierney (D-Salem) said he has talked with union leaders about pushing for wind-turbine jobs in Lynn, though he said yesterday that he hasn't made up his mind on the proposed Nantucket Sound project.

See Herald original story here.

Kennedy short-hops $2,490 copter ride

By Andrew Miga / Boston Herald Thursday, February 10, 2005

W ASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy -- stirring memories of ex-acting Gov. Jane M. Swift's state police chopper boondoggle -- ordered up a taxpayer-funded $2,490 helicopter ride home to Hyannisport last May after attending events in New Bedford, records show.

The 48-mile flight to Cape Cod cost U.S. taxpayers $51.87 per mile. 

The senator's chopper ride home on May 21 to his family's famed compound allowed him to avoid the late Friday afternoon traffic congestion that clogs roadways and bridges to Cape Cod during the spring and summer weekends.

"Driving -- or for that matter commercial air travel -- at that time of day would have taken several hours," said Stephanie Cutter, a senior Kennedy adviser.

The drive between New Bedford and Hyannisport is about 48 miles and takes 57 minutes without traffic, according to Mapquest, the travel Web site.

Kennedy's decision to tap his $2.4 million annual Senate office budget for nearly $2,500 for such a short flight home raised eyebrows among his colleagues.

"It's pretty much unheard of to do something like that," one Bay State congressman said. "Someone was asleep at the switch over there."

Former Lt. Gov. Swift caused a public uproar by using a state police helicopter to fly home to the Berkshires shortly before Thanksgiving 1999, avoiding holiday traffic. There were calls for her to reimburse the flight's estimated $1,000 cost.

Kennedy was in New Bedford and Fairhaven to tour pollution sites and announce new cleanup funding along with then-Environmental Protection Agency chief Michael Leavitt and U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-4th.

"The senator's travel complied with all applicable laws and Senate rules," said Cutter. The trip was for "official Senate business and did not involve any campaign events," Cutter said.

JBI Helicopter Services of Pembroke, N.H., provided the chopper.

The original Herald story was at this web address:   
 http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=90306  

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