The Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound, off the coast of Massachusetts, has been stuck fighting to exist for the last 9 years. Residents that didn’t want turbines in their back yard (NiMBYs) have been engaging every group that may have any legal grounds to halt the project involved, using various tactics like new claims of tribal ground that were not granted. The most recent lawsuit, brought by PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility), claims that the environmental impact studies did not pay enough attention to birds and their migration habits.
The Mass Audubon Society, one of the most prominent organizations that focuses on Massachusetts environmental issues, initially felt that the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was lacking and did its own study. Their own independent study found that the environmental risks of not moving forward with the wind farm far outweighed the environmental impact of going ahead. Rising sea levels from CO2 emissions would do more damage to local beaches, putting bird species more at risk because of destroyed nesting grounds.
I believe PEER is acting more in the interests of previous project opponents than it is the environment. The DEIS came out 4 years ago, and the project has been going on for 9. More than enough time has passed to do a meaningful impact study, and they are speaking up only after the project was approved. Some quotes include:
“As a result of these failures, there is no reliable information on how many birds will perish in the huge turbine blades despite requirements that the best scientific information must be used”
To paraphrase Saul Griffith, previously involved with Makani Power, the number one killer of birds in the United States is Chicken Farming. The danger to birds from wind turbines pale in comparison. Any death at all is tragedy, but inaction will lead to more death.
The delays have gone on for too long, and failure to implement the first major off shore wind project in the US could have dire consequences for the environment and sustainable energy initiatives. You should contact PEER to let them know what you think, and ask them to drop the lawsuit.