New effort to "poison the well" as Federal report is about to be released
Delahunt's office, Peter Kenney, Alliance manipulate the media again
By Walter Brooks and Jim Kinsella
Within hours of the release of the final review by the U.S. Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service onthe proposed Cape Wind project, the "usual suspects" have been roundedup by the fossil fuel interests who control the Alliance to ProtectNantucket Sound and apparently the Cape Cod Times newspaper as well. It is an added irony that the MMS is the federal agency which Senator Ted Kennedy and Congressman William Delahunt conspired to take over the survey of the Cape Wind project three years ago after the United States Army Corps. of Engineers (USACE) review was published which extolled the virtues of Cape Wind.
In their effort to jam the project then, they arranged to have the USACE taken off the project and replaced by the very agency which they fear will again give Cape Wind the "thumbs up" within a day or two
Word of the office's exploration of the review comes as the Cape Windproject, which first was proposed more than seven years ago, may be onthe cusp of a decision by MMS whether to approve the project.
Glenn Wattley of Osterville, chief executive officer for theAlliance to Preserve Nantucket Sound, an organization opposed to CapeWind and funded largely by waterfront property owners, many withconnections to the oil and coal industry, said Interior IG officialshad approached him "as an individual" with questions about what he hadobserved in the review process.
Mark Forest, chief of staff to local Congressman William Delahunt,both strong opponents of the wind farm, said Interior IG officials hadgotten in touch with Delahunt's office about the MMS review.The documents, Forest said, often already were in the public domain, raising the obvious question, "why a visit from the IG?"An unnamed source told Cape Cod TODAY that Forest had it backward - hecontacted the Inspector General's office and invited theirrepresentative to the Cape to see Congressman Delahunt's files on thematter. This would allow Forest to make his statement to the press.
As seeming confirmation of this, Forest said they had requestedcopies of documents and of letters that Delahunt had written about theagency's review of the project, all of which could have as easily beenfaxed to the IG's office in Boston.
Peter Kenney, knownlocally at The Gadfly, has attempted to peddle his unverified version ofconversations with the Inspector General's office to this onlinenewspaper for weeks without result. Now Kenney has become the latest"reporter" for the local daily newspaper.
The Cape Cod Times today reported information from Kenney, Wattley and Forest as facts,forgetting apparently the newspaper's long history of serving as a"house organ" for Cape Wind's opponents. It was only three years ago thatthe daily newspaper was caught red-handed reprinting, as their ownEditorial, words taken verbatim from the Alliance's website excoriating Cape Wind.
Alliance, Times, down to criticizing Cape Wind's business sense
The only facts the Times reported today about the wind farm was the following,
"Wattley spoke to the investigator about the useof GE 3.6 megawatt turbines for the proposed wind farm and theeconomics of the project, he said. Wattleyand the Alliance have argued the GE turbines are not available and CapeWind needs to specify what type of turbine the company will use in theSound. They have also argued that the project is not financiallyviable, a point Wattley says he reiterated to the inspector general'sinvestigator.
The irony of any newspaper making judgment calls about business decisions beingmade by as successful a business as Cape Wind, should not be lost onreaders. The newspaper itself is struggling to stay alive after layoffs and huge revenue losses And Mr. Wattley and Kenney both know that other, even moreefficient, turbines are both available and in use around the world.
The newspaper further stated today that opponents too had heard of the IG's investigation.
In our survey of the major proponents we were told that the only one who had mentioned the investigation to them was the Times reporter and the amusingly inaccurate Peter Kenney who has been emailing all concerned for weeks trying to get someone to listen.
The Cape Cod Times is the only medium which did.
No further word was available yesterday from Interior's Inspector General's Office, which is headed by Earl Devaney. Mr Devaney is a former Massachusetts cop who was partly responsible for taking down lobbyist Jack Abramoff recently. He doesn't do investigations this way. He contacts everyone who might have information he wants, which certainly would include the proponents of the project as well.
Only Wattley, Kenney, Forest "supposedly" contacted by Inspector General
None of the individuals or organizations who support Cape Wind have been interviewed by an investigator about the MMS. We only have Wattley, Kenney and Forest's word that they were contacted, instead of it being the other way around.
SusanReid, an attorney with the Conservation Law Foundation, told The Times, "Theinsinuation that MMS has gone easy on Cape Wind is odd"
She went on to say in the newspaper, "It strikes me as kind ofincredible if anyone is asserting that Cape Wind has gotten any kind ofsweet deal from MMS" citing the federal agency's lengthyreview of the project.
If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck...
Word of the office's exploration of the review comes as the CapeWind project, which first was proposed more than seven years ago, maybe on the cusp of a decision by MMS whether to approve the project.
MMS officials reportedly wanted to complete their review of CapeWind and issue a final environmental impact statement before the changein presidential administrations.
With the transfer of power from President George W. Bush to President-elect Barack Obama scheduled for this coming Tuesday, time is growing very short for a decision under the Bush administration.
Exploration apparently under way for several months
"They didn't contact the Alliance,They did contact me as an individual." - Glenn Wattley
The proposed project would consist of 130 wind turbines generatingup to 468 megawatts of power. Backers say Cape Wind could meet 75percent of the power demand on Cape Cod and the Islands. Cape WindAssociates has proposed building the wind farm on Horseshoe Shoal infederal waters in Nantucket Sound. The site is about five miles southof the Cape.
Mark Rodgers, communications director for Cape Wind, saidWednesday that the company had not been contacted by anyone from theInspector General's Office.
Rodgers declined to comment on the timing of the reported activity by the IG's office in light of a possibly imminent decision.
Wattley, however, said Wednesday the IG has been exploring the matter for several months.
"They didn't contact the Alliance," he said. "They did contact me as an individual."
Reported concerns about agency's review of Cape Wind
In their contact with him, Wattley said the Interior officials seemed mainly interested in the review process.
Wattley said he shared his concerns about to what extent MMS hadresearched whether the particular turbines planned for Cape Wind wouldbe commercially available, and also whether the project would beeconomically viable.
Forest said Wednesday that the IG's office had gotten in touch with Delahunt's office.
"They were looking for information that we gave them: documents, copies of letters," he said.
The documents, Forest said, often already were in the public domain,such as a "very strong" letter Delahunt wrote to MMS, expressing hisconcern about whether the agency had properly weighed the impact of theproject on historic preservation.
Delahunt, Forest said, had emphasized the need for MMS to compilecomprehensive data in its review of the project, as well as a thoroughCoast Guard review for maritime safety, before issuing a decision onCape Wind.