Hidden, as in plain sight

(Initially posted Tuesday at wind farmer's almanac)

Great timing for returning to the wind blog, with an amazingly lame story in (Monday's) Cape Cod Times under the headline, "Foes say Cape Wind hid report."

Four paragraphs in comes this -- "A report prepared by Cape Wind consultants made public this week by the Minerals Management Service concluded that if a major oil spill did occur at the project's electrical service platform -- which would hold up to 40,000 gallons of lubricating oil ..." -- coolant, not lubricating oil -- " ... there's a greater than 90 percent chance the oil would reach the shoreline."

Operative phrase -- made public this week. But since the story by Times staffer David Schoetz was published on Labor Day, the report in all likelihood was released last week, which begs the question -- why didn't the Times run the story then instead of, ah, "hiding" it from readers until the following week?

Windstop.org founder Cliff Carroll says of the report's findings -- "This is an unacceptable risk" while questioning "why it took so long for Cape Wind to release the study and the developer's unwillingness to specify the type of oil that would be used in the transformer station."

But to a vitriolic wind farm opponent like Carroll, nothing Cape Wind does will ever be enough, as anyone with a passing acquaintance with him is aware. The story clearly states that Cape Wind consultants prepared the report, passed it along to Minerals Management Service, and MMS released the report last week.

Perhaps I'm missing something here, but at what point did Cape Wind "hide" this report? (and where exactly did they hide it -- under the refrigerator ...?)

Not only that, but it is a single wind farm opponent, Carroll, making this allegation. Yet the headline refers to "foes," based on the Alliance's Ernie Corrigan weighing in with this mixed metaphor about the transformer platform -- "This is the mother lode of this industrial complex. It is the beating heart of the industrial complex that's going to sit in the middle of Nantucket Sound."

Further gumming up a story badly in need of coolant, Carroll and Corrigan are allowed their say without a single counterpart from the other side of the aisle being given the opportunity, such as Clean Power Now, Greenpeace, Conservation Law Foundation, etc.

Once again, wind farm opponents like Carroll, Corrigan and the Times demand contortions of Cape Wind that would baffle Houdini. On one hand, any and all information about the project and all conceivable impacts stretching across the cosmos should have been available from the minute the proposal was announced, and not one second later, goshdarnit.

On the other, opponents also demand a scrupulous and time-consuming regulatory review of the project, now in its sixth year, extending to that indefinite point in the future when Cape Wind could no longer continue -- but not a minute longer, thanks very much.

Not unless and until that glorious day comes along for Cape Wind's foes can any regulatory process be thorough enough. Because it is not fear of their apocalyptic visions coming true that haunts opponents of the wind farm -- it is Cape Wind getting built and these visions being seen for the phantoms on the grassy knoll they are.

(photo credit, www.mymailout.net)

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