In a turn of events that I can only call bizarre, I find myself siding with the Bush administration against Senator Ted Kennedy on an issue involving energy policy and the environment. How weird is that? The issue is Cape Wind, a proposal to build a large farm of electricity-generating windmills in Nantucket Sound, off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Nantucket Sound is a windy place, and also part of New England, which badly needs new sources of clean, renewable energy. The problem, at least in some people’s minds, is that Nantucket Sound is a big tourist attraction. It’s also a place where a lot of wealthy people live, people who tend to own really nice sailboats. And a lot of those people don’t want a bunch of windmills messing up their view, even if they’ll be so far offshore as to be barely noticeable. I’m afraid Senator Kennedy is one of them. (Walter Cronkite was, too, for a while. Then he reversed his position and came out in favor of the project.)
Along comes Senator Stevens from Alaska who, as a political favor to Kennedy, slips a clause into the Coast Guard authorization bill, a clause that would give the governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, also an opponent of Cape Wind, the right to veto the project. This is political hackwork, and it is unbecoming of Senator Kennedy to engage in it. It is also very bad energy policy. The project should stand or fall on its merits, not on political sleight of hand.
There are numerous environmental reasons to support the Cape Wind project, and even the Audubon Society, which initially expressed reservations due to possible hazard to birds, completed a study suggesting that the danger was not nearly as great as feared.
Usually a champion of environmental causes, and almost always a defender of the working class and the poor, Senator Kennedy has turned against the common good on this one. It breaks my heart, not only because I think this windmill farm is a good idea, but also because I have long trusted Ted Kennedy to defend the values of justice and fair play that I hold dear. But I fear he has left us on this one.
And who shows up to defend the project? The Bush administration! Have I landed on the Bizzaro Planet, or what? Are they getting involved in this just because they hate Kennedy? (They haven’t done anything else good for the environment that I can think of.) Well, whatever the reason, I have to stand with the Bush people on this one. They’re right.
I didn’t think I would ever hear those words coming out of my mouth. Aaaiiieeeee! Stop me before I say it again!