Hyannis, MA -- It's May, but you wouldn't know it here on Cape Cod, where winter remains in charge. But the blustery days are a reminder of why this is such a promising region for off-shore wind. Bad weather can be a valuable resource.
By now, almost everyone has heard of some of the seemingly hypocritical opposition to the "Cape Wind" project proposed for Nantucket Sound. The site is near the Kennedy family compound in Hyannisport, and the Kennedys have been among the prominent opponents of the project.
But speaking last night with Cape Wind President Jim Gordon, I learned that there is another, major source of opposition to the project; namely, prominent figures in the oil industry who also live on the Cape. In fact, the co-chair of the leading opposition group is Bill Koch, head of Oxbow Energy, an immense conglomerate involved in both coal and oil. Koch, along with the rest of his family, are also among the key supporters of reactionary think tanks and the conservative movement.
Koch is not the only member of the carbon lobby who is fighting wind here. In fact, Alaska's Don Young, one of the oil industry's main agents in Congress, is the author of an under-the-radar rider attached to the pending Coast Guard authorization bill that would allow Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who also opposes the project, to block Cape Wind. Yet, while Young claims to believe that windmills off Cape Cod might be too risky, he's willing to do anything to pump oil revenues from drilling the Arctic Refuge into the Alaska Permanent Fund.
So, while the opposition of a liberal Senator like Ted Kennedy makes for a good story, the reality is that the big bucks behind the opposition come from some of the most anti-environmental forces in the oil industry.