Congressman threatens Coast Guard in effort to block Cape Wind

Congressman Oberstar taking a page out of Senmator Ted Stevens playbook
Threatens Coast Guard in effort to block Cape Wind approval

By Clean Power Now Executive Director Barbara Hill

Reminiscent of Senator Ted Steven's effort to derail the regulatory review process for Cape Wind, Congressman James Oberstar (D-Minnesota) is attempting to block the Federal Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) to be released this month.

This extension is clearly a device to create further obstacles for Cape Wind at atime when the country needs and is ready to move toward wind powerenergy

As Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Congressman Oberstar sent a letter to Commandant Thad Allen of the Coast Guard this week 'requesting' an extraordinary review of the Coast Guard's ruling that Cape Wind does not present any navigation hazards. Congressman Oberstar's letter comes at the request of opponents of the project and a number of Massachusetts elected officials who have long used their political clout to fight the wind farm.

Congressman Oberstar asked for this extension at the 11th hour and after 8 years of regulatory review. This is clearly a device to create further obstacles for Cape Wind at a time when the country needs and is ready to move toward wind power energy.

Eighty-six percent of Massachusetts residents support Cape Wind. Wealthy opponents of the project continue to pull every trick in the book to further delay this important renewable energy project. Senator Stevens attempts to intimidate the Coast Guard didn't work in 2005 and we are committed to ensuring that Congressman Oberstar's maneuvers meet the same fate.

Oberstar's actions are in direct conflict with President-elect Obama'scommitment to a clean energy economy and the jobs it will create

Congressman Oberstar's actions are in direct conflict with President-elect Obama's commitment to a clean energy economy and the jobs it will create. It is also in direct conflict with Congressman Oberstar's membership on the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus, where he has stated that he ‘strongly support[s] the development and distribution of technology that can make energy generation clean and sustainable.' Cape Wind is clean and sustainable technology, and Congressman Oberstar should withdraw his request that the Coast Guard commandant delay the release of its report.

Congressman Oberstar's dealing even threatens jobs in his own district. Offloading of wind turbines is a major growth industry at the port of Duluth, the largest city in his constituency. Massachusetts and Minnesota citizens need the jobs that wind power will create and urge Congressman Oberstar to reconsider this politically motivated

Oberstar's threat an implied threat to the Coast Guard.

Importantly, Congressman Oberstar's threat to hold hearings on the Coast Guard's position constitutes an implied threat to the Coast Guard. This comes at a time when we need to be increasing the Coast Guard budget for national security reasons. Port security is one of the primary challenges we face for homeland security. Even implied threats over the Coast Guard's budget are irresponsible and in conflict with Congressman Oberstar's own record.

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Clean Power Now believes that timely development of such projects, in conjunction with energy efficiency and conservation, will bring about a clean and healthy environment, an improved economy and a more secure, sustainable America. Clean Power's immediate focus is to increase citizen support of offshore wind power in Nantucket Sound.

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