Friday, February 08, 2008

Greenpeace promotes privatization, blows off birds

Greenpeace is emailing its membership in the service of Cape Wind, a for-profit company seeking to erect a massive industrial wind plant in the public waters of Nantucket Sound off the Massachusetts coast. The message asks supporters to notify the Bush regime-headed Minerals Management Service of their support for Cape Wind during the present public comment period. This comment period leads up to public hearings to be held in Boston and the Cape & Islands.

Cape Wind intends to erect an industrial scale wind power plant on Horseshoe Shoals in the public waters of Nantucket Sound. According to the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, a diverse group of Cape Wind opponents: "Covering 25 square miles, an area the size of Manhattan, the plant would consist of 130 wind turbines, each standing 440' tall - significantly larger than the Statue of Liberty (305’) and the Cape Cod Canal bridges (275'). The plant also includes a 10-story electrical service platform holding 40,000 gallons of transformer oil and 1000 gallons of diesel fuel, with a helicopter pad on top."

It's more than a bit ironic that a group like Greenpeace, among others, is promoting this privatization scheme given the projects potential threat to wildlife and the marine environment. It seems Greenpeace is ready to trade-off untold numbers of dead birds (the site is on the Great Eastern Flyway) and other marine life just so their Big Enviro resume can include the nations largest "clean" wind plant. On the other hand, the radical environmental group Sea Shepherd opposes Cape Wind.

Wind power can be an important part of our energy needs, however where it is sited is also important. Cape Wind has not seriously considered less harmful sites for their project, nor have they really considered using private property, rather than the commons, to install their windmills. In addition, there are other options that residents of Massachusetts and New England need to consider, including on-site residential and commercial power production such as solar panels and geothermal heat pumps.

Remember "turtles & teamsters"? Environmental & political activists have struggled against the corporate privatization of the commons for years. It's a sad testament when groups like Greenpeace and others find themselves promoting capitalist moneymaking schemes that reduce the commons to an industrial sacrifice zone.

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