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Cape Wind has an Alanis moment

April 27, 2006

Isn’t it ironic?

Ted Kennedy drops the ball, doing perhaps the only truly sleazy thing he’s ever done as a Senator. And it backfires. Even when the guy does bad, he can’t help doing good.

Cape Wind is the country’s first truly major wind power project, to be based offshore in Nantucket Sound. On completion, it’ll furnish electricity for 3/4 of Cape Cod, and enable the Bay State to meet its modestly ambitious renewable energy goals for the next decade. It’s met intense opposition from wealthy beachfront homeowners on the Cape, and Kennedy has been leading the NIMBY pack, with Republican governor Mitt Romney nipping at his heels, trying to vie for the pack’s alpha male spot.

Nevertheless, after years of wrangling, and resolution of initial fears about environmental effects on birds and fish, Cape Wind was on its way to approval. Then came the sleaze. Two Alaskan reps, Young and Stevens, slipped an amendment into the must-pass Coast Guard spending authorization bill, which would give the governor of a state final veto power over any offshore wind plans in the state’s coastal waters, regardless of how many reviews and hoops it had jumped through. Kennedy gave the end-run his blessing, and started lining up Democratic support for the amendment in the Senate.

Then came the gas prices.

Today the Boston Globe reports that New Mexico GOP senators Bingaman and Domenici have started rounding up support for Cape Wind in the upper house. Now, where energy is concerned, these are two bad actors. They are behind the worse of the two fake global warming bills I blogged about two days ago. But the gas prices are putting the heat on them to start looking green. An electorate rapidly arming itself with pitchforks seems likely to demand from them outrageous acts of disloyalty to the oily hand that feeds them, like maybe a repeal of last summer’s $14.1 billion tax break.

Suddenly, the perfect solution drops into their hands: not only can they substitute free wind for a windfall tax, not only can they pose as environmental heroes – they can poke a sharp stick in Ted Kennedy’s eye at the same time! It’s like dangling a wabbit in front of Elmer Fudd, or a new war in front of George Junior. How could they resist?

So the House bill is suddenly sidelined for several weeks, and Greenpeace gets to enjoy the company of some strange new bedfellows.

Update: Commenter Over the Left Shoulder is right: I hadn’t been that familar with Bingaman, but he is (D-NM), not (R-NM). And he’s ordinarily a pretty good eco-actor. I see his ratings from League of Conservation Voters have run in the 70 and 80 percent range, and he helped vote down the latest ANWR drilling proposal. Still, EMK’s handprints on the Cape Wind killer amendment will make it easier for Domenici to round up GOP votes against it.

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3 comments

  1. One minor correction to this finely crafted tirade: New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman is (last time I looked) a Democrat.

    — Guerrilla Bloggers for Accuracy In Ranting


  2. Thanks for the catch. There’s more to this punditry thing than I realized.

    And incidentally, ain’t Project Vote Smart great? Everybody’s voting record, and everybody’s ratings from everybody, out there for God and everybody to see.


  3. Thanks for the catch. There’s more to this punditry thing than I realized.

    And incidentaly, ain’t Project Vote Smart great?



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