Nantucket Selectman Doug Bennet Proposes Alternate Site for Windfarm

Proposal viewed as a way to end stalemate between Cape Wind and the federal and state government

NANTUCKET- Nantucket Selectman Doug Bennett asked his fellow board members to take a leadership role in the wind energy debate at the January 3, 2007 Board of Selectmen meeting.

Bennett presented a proposal urging the board to send a letter along with Nantucket Planner Andrew Vorce to the January 10th, 2007 Minerals Management Services meeting to be held in Boston. The letter would reflect Nantucket's support of an alternate wind farm site, south of Nantucket.


Nantucket Selectman Doug Bennett

The Nantucket Board of Selectmen will meet Tuesday January 9, 2007 to vote on whether to present the letter to the Minerals Management Services.

According to Bennett, "This alternative site, one of several recently identified by the federal Minerals Management Service (MMS), which is now the lead regulatory agency for the project, is a potential compromise that could end the "stalemate" between developer Cape Wind Associates and its opponents."

"This will allow us to break the stalemate and it provides a compromise," Bennett said. "It's a better site because you are going to get more power. Nantucket has the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of this new energy source. We (Cape Cod and the Islands) should be on the cutting edge, not Texas", referring to the Galveston Island Wind project in Texas.

Following Bennett's presentation, Nantucket Planning Director Andrew Vorce agreed with Bennett asking the board to send the letter.   Said Vorce, "It's important for the (Nantucket) Board of Selectmen to issue specific suggestions... (to the MMS)... Doug has seized the opportunity to put Nantucket in a leadership position and break the stalemate and designate an alternative site that could actually work."

Mark Forest, Bill Delahunt's chief of staff applauded Bennett's efforts by saying, "What the Nantucket Board of Selectmen is trying to do is be positive and constructive and offer advise.  "It is encouraging and heartening to see the island suggesting alternatives."

Read the letter in its entirety below:

January 3, 2007

Dr. Rodney Cluck
Cape Wind Project Manager
Minerals Management Services
381 Elden Street, Mail Stop 4042
Herndon, Massachusetts 20164

Dear Dr. Cluck:

As you know, the proposed Cape Wind project proposed for a site on the Horseshoe Shoals in Nantucket Sound has met with considerable local opposition since the first permit application was filed five years ago. Last year, the voters of Nantucket overwhelmingly voted against the project when it was placed on the ballot. However, we offer a proposal that may end the gridlock and paralysis of this debate.

Residents of the Cape and Islands have opposed the project for a number of reasons. Of considerable concern is the fact that development of Horseshoe Shoals area could have a harmful and significant impact on the area. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has designated much of Nantucket Sound as an ocean sanctuary and in the 80s, the area now proposed for the wind farm was found by an independent panel of scientists, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a number of federal agencies to qualify as a National Marine Sanctuary.

We believe it is important for the Federal government to listen closely to the people of Massachusetts and the residents of the Cape and Islands. The concerns of those who are directly negatively impacted by this project should not be ignored. However, since the people of Nantucket recognize the need for new alternative fuel sources especially in light of our nation?s desire to achieve energy independence, we the Nantucket Board of Selectmen endorse the following proposal as a way to help break the ?stalemate? and find common ground:

  1. First, we are inclined to offer our support for the area the MMS has identified as an alternative to the Horseshoe Shoals site, designated as the ?south of Tuckernuck Island? site. We urge the MMS to fully investigate and study this area.  It is outside the area designated as a sanctuary and outside the flyway of migratory birds. It has just as much, if not more, wind energy. We have a map of the proposed area, which is just 4 miles south of Tuckernuck Island, roughly 24 square miles in federal waters;
  2. The MMS should also study designating the ?south of Tuckernuck Island? site as a test site for alternative renewable energy technologies such as wave, tidal energy, wind or even deepwater technology.
  3. We ask the MMS to require that all costs of power and electricity to island residents be fully disclosed during the upcoming environmental review process. Local residents ought to be told what the power costs will be.
  4. Nantucket residents should be given a chance to receive a share of the revenue brought it by such a project. Residents should be guaranteed an ?affordable rate? comparable to the cost of power associated with the wind energy in Hull, Massachusetts. Power in Hull is at 18 cents a kilowatt hour, significantly less than the cost of power on Nantucket. We endorse the use of the state?s Renewable Energy Trust fund as a tool to be used to reduce the cost of power from wind energy to local residents, or to develop the site.

We are very excited that Nantucket is considered a ?stakeholder? in this process and we appreciate that MMS will consult us during the planning process for the use of the site.

Living in the 21st century, requires all of us to face new challenges. We endorse the call to become energy independent and seek to work with the Federal government in doing so.

The creation of new clean energy sources is the most serious challenge we face today.   It is the source of many of global conflicts and the root of environmental problems.

We believe that our proposal, support and interest in this alternate site is a significant step forward in this debate.

We urge you to accept our proposal.

Respectfully,

Whitey Willauer, Chair
Michael Kopko, Vice Chair
Doug Bennett
Brian Chadwick
Catherine Flanagan Stover

Board of Selectmen
Nantucket Town Government
16 Broad Street
Nantucket, MA 02554

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