"They came together a few years ago bound by a common cause:
- to kill the wind farm" - Cape Cod Times, August 7, 2005
The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound sees the handwriting on the wave - the Nantucket wind farm project is going to happen and the Alliance's hired guns are worried about their paychecks stopping. Hey, 11 years ago Chuck Vinick was taking down $95,578 a year from the Cousteau Society, and that ain't whale blubber. Today he and Sue Nickerson are well into six-figures, a very strong inducement to stop a renewable wind farm project for the 'hood.
So what's a couple of ex-environmentalists like Susan Nickerson (formerly of the Association to Preserve Cape Cod) and Charles Vinick (on right, formerly of the Jacques Cousteau Society) to do?
Hypocrisy saves the (pay)day
Why according to our daily they'll buy a boat, a smallish one they can also use for beach picnics, to "patrol the sound" and hire a public relations expert to come up with sound bites to impress us gullible newspaper readers. On the right is the commodore of the other half of the Alliance Navy being helped ashore by our governor The Mittster.
The latest Alliance P.R. gambit, inappropriately featured as a front page story in Sunday's Cape Cod Times, informs us "Earlier this year the group earned the designation of 'Soundkeeper' from the Waterkeeper Alliance, an international coalition of groups involved in water protection at regional levels. Among other duties, the alliance must produce a 25-year plan and have a regular presence on the water."
Can someone please explain to me the difference between the Alliance's new goal of securing long-term sanctuary status for the sound, and their old goal of opposing the wind farm?
Will the real Cousteau please stand up
A while back The Alliance hired Vinick, a former $95,578 a year fundraiser with the Cousteau Society, as its first full-time president and CEO. As the Boston Herald reported on May 28, "A Cape Wind spokesman said the alliance's hiring of Vinick to replace Douglas Yearley, a former Phelps Dodge mining chief, represented an attempt to remove an environmental 'embarrassment' from the group." You remember Dirty Doug Yearley, the former C.E.O. of Phelps-Dodge when it was repeatedly designated Arizona's worst polluter. Nice folks to watch over our waters.
On the same day this CC Times' story appeared a real Cousteau, the grandson of the society's founder on right, was touting the new proposed wind farm 3 miles off Jones Beach on Long Island, see the NY Daily News story here.
"We have failed to wean ourselves off carbon-based energy," said Philippe Cousteau, adding that each year, power plants emit 11 million pollutants into the environment. As president of EarthEcho International, Cousteau plans to back the nation's first offshore wind power project which the Long Island Power Co. is building.
We hope Nantucket Sound fares better than Vinick's last cause
Charles Vinick, best known for his $20 million dollar effort to 'save' Keiko the killer whale of "Free Willy" fame, now says that he wants to 'save' Nantucket Sound. Boy, if one now-dead whale costs $20 million to save, can you imagine what Vinick will raise to save a whole body of water !
Yes, Keiko died a year after he was saved by Vinick's efforts. After two years of rehabilitation at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, the whale was airlifted to Iceland in 1998, taught to catch live fish and released off Iceland in a $20 million program to return him to the wild - that's about $150 a pound.
Let's hope Nantucket Sound fares a bit better.
Greenpeace vs. The Alliance
While Vinick waged a symbolic, multi-million dollar PR campaign tied to the fate of one whale, decades earlier Greenpeace raised the world's attention about saving whales generally,like whole species of whales.
Today Vinick and Greenpeace are at odds over the Cape Wind proposal - Greenpeace supports it and the new and highly paid Alliance CEO Charles Vinick opposes it.