Cape Wind Project Proposed Term Paper

Pages: 9 (3191 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Energy

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .

However, their views are not the biggest issue here. Many of these property owners have owned property on the Cape for decades, and their property values could plummet, leading to a loss in local taxes to the entire area.

In addition, tourism is a major part of the area's economy, especially in the summertime, and if tourism dollars plummet, as predicted by the Beacon Hill Institute, sales tax and room tax revenues could plummet, as well. This would lead to a reduction in tourist-related jobs, and an overall downturn in the area's economy. This of course, would be in addition to the effects of the recession that are already hitting the area, and it could be catastrophic to the economy of the area for decades to come. This is just a scenario, the effects could be much worse in reality, and the domino effect on other coastline communities could ripple throughout the state.

This project also affects a time-honored tradition of family-owned fishing businesses that operate in the Sound. The Massachusetts Fishermen's Partnership, which is a group of 18 commercial fishing organizations, opposes the project because it could mean the end of a way of life for these fishermen, who provide so much of the fresh seafood we enjoy on the Cape and on the mainland. Again, this could have an adverse effect on the area's economy as these fishing jobs disappear. Fishing is more than just a job for many of these fishermen, it is a way of life that has been going on for generations, and to see it end would be tragic for the history and traditions of the area, as well.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Cape Wind Project Proposed for Assignment

The developers of Cape Wind also tout the economic benefits of their development, that it will bring jobs to the community, and that it will save people money on their electrical costs. They note, "Cape Wind will reduce the clearing price for electricity in the New England spot market by reducing operations of the regions most expensive power plants, this will reduce electricity prices in New England by 25 million dollars per year" ("FAQs"). However, studies by the federal Minerals Management Service (MMS), in their Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) state otherwise. They show that the average cost of electricity throughout the state of Massachusetts is $66 per megawatt hour (MWh), but because of financing and subsidies, costs for electricity produced by the Cape Wind Project could reach as high as $190 MWh ("The Economy"). People on the Cape would be paying more than double the current rates if that is the case, and that is too much of a burden for the citizens to bear, especially in these very challenging economic times. In addition, because the project has been bogged down in red tape for so long, the initial cost estimates to build the plant, once a staggering $700 million, have risen to over $1 billion, which could raise the costs of electricity to the consumer even more ("The Economy"). Finally, the $25 million dollar savings figures are hotly disputed. SOS notes, "First, the study Cape Wind references is roughly 5 years old and new market rules eliminate most of the 'theoretical savings.' Second, the study did not include the appropriate costs and public subsidies that more than offset any savings" ("The Economy"). Thus, figures have not been updated, and I believe this is misleading the people. There have also been several similar projects around the country that have fallen apart because of the high costs of developing the projects and the lack of savings for consumers.

The project developers also promise more jobs as the wind turbines are built and created on the mainland. They state, "In the assembly, staging and ocean construction stage of the project, Cape Wind will create 600 to 1,000 jobs. Once operating, Cape Wind will create 150 permanent jobs, with at least 55 based on Cape Cod" ("FAQs). Again, they do not cite any specific sources or backup for their estimates, and they do not cite figures or salaries for these jobs. SOS also questions the validity of these statistics. They write, "In comparison to the number of jobs lost by the construction of Cape Wind, the jobs potentially created by Cape Wind are negligible and will largely go to off-Cape and even out of state workers" ("The Economy"). This committee must question the numbers, and question the validity of these estimates, because the entire truth is not coming out about this project, and the truth must be told, so the citizens understand the real scope of the operation and what it will do to the Sound forever.

Perhaps the most compelling argument comes from those politicians and people like myself who oppose the project. Walter Cronkite, a long-time resident of the Cape is adamantly opposed to this wind farm and Senator Ted Kennedy and his nephew, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. are both opposed, as well. This committee does not need to be reminded that both of these senior politicians are environmentally aware and supportive of renewable energy alternatives. However, they understand this project is not the right project for the right location. Kennedy, Jr. notes, "They are big ugly things sitting out there in the middle of what should be the pristine waters. The way we are affected in a visual sense will be nothing compared to natural life -- how it is affected out there" (Williams and Whitcomb 142). These are all reflective, educated, and astute people who weigh both sides of an issue, and they come from differing backgrounds and points-of-view, and yet they all believe this project is not good for the community, the state, and the people. They all believe the project is the wrong one for the area, and it should be situated in a more reasonable and suitable location.

Politically, this project is a boondoggle that has consistently been rammed down the people's throats, whether they want it or not. The MMS tried to suppress their figures about costs, and approved the project anyway, and the press and people of the Cape have made their feelings very clear about the project. They do not want it for a variety of reasons, and politically, many of us believe we have been shortchanged in the political process. The Cape Cod Commission denied the project, and yet planning continues, and when the town of Barnstable challenged the project, the judge threw out the case ("Wind Farms"). Many people believe the myth that residents support the project, but that simply is not true. SOS continues, "More importantly, towns that have voted on the issue have clearly shown that a large majority of their residents are opposed to the Cape Wind project. In separate non-binding referendums, the towns of Mashpee and Nantucket voted against the Cape Wind project by strong margins" ("The Economy"). Unfortunately, every challenge seems to go to the developers of the wind farm, while the people's direct wishes go unanswered and unheard.

Environmentally, the project is a disaster waiting to happen. The massive turbines are the size of a football field, and the entire farm is managed by a massive electrical service platform (ESP) that contains 40,000 gallons of transformer oil and 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel ("The Economy"). If any of these components failed, there could be a massive oil spill that would affect the Cape for decades, if not centuries. In addition, the turbines are extremely noisy, and beaches and residents are at risk of noise pollution that will rise as the strength of the winds increase. In addition, at night, they will contain navigation and airplane warning lights, leading to light pollution on the horizon and throughout the area.

If I looked into a crystal ball to predict what Nantucket Sound will look like in five years, I hope I will see no trace of a wind farm, because the idea is nothing more than "visual pollution" (Williams and Whitcomb xii) for those of us who choose to live on Cape Cod. As a historian, I look to the past for guidance and inspiration, and I think of the wilderness the first colonists encountered when they landed near this area during their very first meeting with their brave New World. That experience was far different from the Cape Cod we enjoy today, to be sure, but to desecrate the Nantucket Sound with a farm of wind turbines is a mockery of everything this sacred Sound stands for. This is "hallowed ground" (Williams and Whitcomb xi) not an electrical plant and the economics of the project simply do not make sense. In five years, I hope to see nothing but shining waves and the natural beauty of the Sound, not the ignoble sight of the might of man over nature.

I want to thank you for listening to my statement, and I want to assure you… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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