By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Tag: Cape Wind

Cape Wind and the high cost of fossil fuels

Boston Herald business reporter Jay Fitzgerald today has the latest in his series of reports on the cost of Cape Wind. Fitzgerald finds that the high price of Cape Wind energy will be borne mainly by those who live and work a long way from the offshore turbines.

Meanwhile, Boston Globe environmental reporter Beth Daley yesterday delved into the planning process behind Cape Wind, which grew out of then-candidate Deval Patrick’s support for the project in 2006. It seems clear from Daley’s reporting that state officials either could have done more to keep the costs down or were taken by surprise.

Good journalism? Absolutely. Yet both stories skip over a crucial fact. The cost of fossil fuel is heavily subsidized. The oil, gas and coal industries do not have to pay for the pollution they dump into the environment, especially the massive carbon-dioxide emissions that already appear to be causing significant climate change. And that’s just the beginning, as Cape Wind activists Barbara Hill and Matthew Pawa observe in this commentary.

It’s similar to the cost of cheap food — factor in the cost of pollution from factory farms and from the medical costs of eating highly processed industrial food, and it doesn’t look so cheap anymore.

Green hypocrites

From the you-can’t-make-this-up department: U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, has filed a bill that would prevent solar panels and wind farms from being built in the Mojave Desert. I hope this wrecks her 92 percent rating from the League of Conservation Voters.

Meanwhile, one of Feinstein’s principal critics is the noted environmentalist (and would-be Mojave developer) Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who says, “This is arguably the best solar land in the world, and Sen. Feinstein shouldn’t be allowed to take this land off the table without a proper and scientific environmental review.”

No, she shouldn’t. But if you recall, Kennedy — like other members of his family, including, unfortunately, his late uncle Ted — has been a staunch opponent of Cape Wind, our very own Mojave Desert when it comes to untapped energy potential.

OK, here’s where I could say something snarky about “environmentalists.” Sorry. The vast majority of environmentalists favor clean energy projects of all stripes, most definitely including Cape Wind. But save us, please, from politicians and celebrities.

Hot air over a Cape Wind book

Has WGBH‘s Cape Cod radio station, WCAI, been suppressing news about a new book that takes a favorable view of Cape Wind, the controversial proposed wind farm? It’s a claim that’s been rattling around for the past few weeks. Now the Phoenix’s Adam Reilly takes a look. And though he finds no definitive proof, he does dig up some interesting tidbits about power, money and potential conflicts of interest.

You want conflicts of interest? Well, you’ve come to the right place. I’m a paid contributor to another outpost of WGBH, “Greater Boston with Emily Rooney.” The editor of Cape Cod Today, Walter Brooks, who’s pro-wind farm and who first alerted me to this story earlier in the month, is a friend of Media Nation. Walter and I have appeared together on WCAI to talk about online journalism.

So it’s just as well I’m taking a pass on this. Read Adam’s story and decide for yourself.

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