National Treasure or National Disgrace?
By Moses Calouro
I disagree with the title of Senator Kennedy's op/ed "Nantucket Sound is a national treasure" (reprinted on right). Picture the junior senator from Massachusetts windsurfing in Nantucket Sound next to vessels that are allowed by federal law to dump sewage.
The words pristine or "national treasure" don't immediately come to mind. Gross is more like it.
Senator Kennedy's points about impacts on fishing are not grounded by facts. Does he know that?
No scientific study has been done by MIT and Massachusetts Fisherman's Partnership. A study implies that science was involved which was not the case here.
Mr. Kennedy is using a focus group not meant for public use. There was a focus group (see attached) where fisherman pointed on charts and gave estimates but there has not been a scientific study. In addition, this focus group's information is not meant to be used in the public debate according to MIT professor Dr . Rhonda Rysnar (617) 324-0339 [email protected].
I spoke with both professors involved and also passed along the document to staff at the University of Rhode Island's Coastal Resource Center.
This is clearly not a study but has often been used by opponents of the wind farm. Robert F. Kennedy Jr made the claim on an NPR interview, SOS/Alliance has made the claim on a recent NECN show, on their web site, and in print. (I've pointed out this issue to SOS/Alliance/Save our Sound but they prefer to continue making this claim.)
Ferry operators and passengers are not at risk and there is no British buffer zone?
The British have no buffer zone requirement between shipping channels and wind farms, see here.
Hy-Line and Steamship Authority claim there is a risk but according to Massachusetts Maritime Academy president Richard Gurnon, the 1 -1/2 mile restriction is a "red herring."
(Red herring is a metaphor for a diversion or distraction from an original objective.Wikipedia)
A solution is possible
Hy-line and the Steamship Authority should be taking advantage of inexpensive and effective collision avoidance technology to improve safety of navigation in Nantucket Sound even if it is not currently required by law.
What's a few thousand dollars per vessel when it comes to ensuring the safety of the three million passengers they transport each year?
Why wait for federal law to require them to stop discharging raw sewage from those passengers into Nantucket Sound?
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