The Massachusetts Fisherman’s Partnership, which represents 18 different local fishing associations, along with a handful of other fishing and boating groups, also stands firmly against Cape Wind. With them are naturalist and animal-rights groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), the International Marine Mammal Project, the Orenda Wildlife Trust, and the Pegasus Foundation.
Then there’s the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Massachusetts Historical Commission, all of which are against the development, saying that the sound should be preserved for cultural and historic significance.
The National Parks Service agrees, despite the decision last week of its parent agency (the Department of the Interior). And, of course, standing with these groups are the two Wampanoag tribes, in Mashpee and Aquinnah, on Martha’s Vineyard.
“We at Cape Wind share our neighbors’ concerns for the environment — local, regional, and global — and act accordingly,” says Cape Wind’s president Jim Gordon. “Our philosophy . . . is simple. Be honest and open, be a good neighbor, and safeguard our shared resources and environment.”
Greenpeace believes that they’re doing just that. “The environment that is so important to the way of life on Cape Cod is in jeopardy,” said a group spokesperson in a statement, “and projects like Cape Wind are the solution.”
Oddly, joining Greenpeace are the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Locals 103 and 223, along with the International Association of Bridge, Structural, and Ornamental Iron Workers and the Industrial Division of the Communications Workers of America, Local 201. It’s not often you get to see Greenpeace hanging out with Republicans and labor unions on an important issue.
As if all this wasn’t already enough to wade through, the parties involved with Cape Wind seem to be holding their breath, waiting for the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) decision on the safety of putting more than 100 giant wind turbines in a dense-fog, high-air-traffic area. A “no” from the FAA could kibosh the whole project, regardless of Salazar’s green light.
Meanwhile, there are lawsuits pending in the Massachusetts State Supreme Court on state and local permit issues. The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound announced last week that anti–Cape Wind lawsuits will be filed by and on behalf of numerous groups, including the Animal Welfare Institute, the Duke’s County/Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen Association, the Oceans Public Trust Initiative, the Industrial Wind Action Group, and the Town of Barnstable for various violations under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Rivers and Harbors Act, and the Clean Water Act. They’ve already filed three notices of intent to sue under the Endangered Species Act and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. They also are considering lawsuits under the National Historic Preservation Act.
In addition, the Alliance says, the Wampanoag Tribe is preparing a legal fight. In previous negotiations, the tribe has turned down $1 million settlement packages from Cape Wind.
“There’s no environmental free lunch,” says Henry Lee, director of the Environment and Natural Resources Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. “This isn’t black and white. [Cape Wind] forced difficult trade-offs.”