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By Robert Rapier on Sep 26, 2007 with no responses

Ted Kennedy Opposes "Big Wind"

One thing I strive hard not to be is a hypocrite. If I suggest that we need to conserve energy or reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, you can bet I am striving to walk the talk. I have very little tolerance for political leaders who ask people to make sacrifices they are unwilling to make, or otherwise display hypocrisy. Hypocrisy just really gets under my skin.

I watch very little TV, but I love The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. And I get it here in Scotland, albeit a day delayed. Last month, I was watching an episode, and Jason Jones did a segment on Ted Kennedy’s opposition to a wind farm. This was the first I had heard about this. Why was Kennedy opposed? Because it was near his home.

As Jones reported:

“It looked bad for the native population, until one man stood up … Yes. Ted Kennedy – noted man from Nantucket and co-sponsor of dozens of renewable energy bills – took a stand—against the wind farms.”

While I was working on this, I ran across the clip, so you can see it for yourself. If you want to see textbook hypocrisy, here you go. Ted Kennedy, supporter of alternative energy – as long as it doesn’t affect his property value.

The skit would have been funnier if it didn’t tick me off so much. Watthead, a fellow energy blogger, commented at the time:

Cape Wind – The Story Behind the Daily Show Video

I read a number of articles on the controversy following the airing of the clip, and it supported the implications from the Daily Show clip: Ted Kennedy was looking out for his self-interest, and that of a small but wealthy minority.

And I just happened to read another article on the controversy today, which is what prompted me to write this essay:

William Delahunt’s ‘Deepwater’ Deceptions

The article says subscription only, but is available as of this writing. The article explains that an effort is underway to deflect criticism from those who oppose the wind project by suggesting deepwater technology may be a better option:

FOR WELL OVER A YEAR now, Congressman William Delahunt and his chief aide, Mark Forest, have been telling constituents that “deepwater” wind technology is a viable alternative to Cape Wind, the 130-turbine, 468-megawatt offshore wind-energy project proposed for Nantucket Sound in front of Delahunt constituent Edward M. Kennedy’s Hyannisport home.

“This is not spin,” the congressman wrote in a local newspaper.

It most certainly is.

“Deepwater wind” refers to wind-turbine technology that could safely be built in deep ocean waters. Waters roughly 10 meters deep are currently the norm for offshore-wind-power technology but Delahunt suggests that wind turbines in waters 35 to 45 meters are commercially viable.

Maybe in two decades, experts say, but certainly not any time soon.

And then the reason for the deepwater deception:

Why is Congressman Delahunt misleading the public?

Deepwater wind is the favorite “alternative” of the wealthy folk who oppose the ambitious Cape Wind project proposed for Nantucket Sound. This project has been delayed for more than six years, primarily because of inexcusable political meddling.

These politically engendered delays have substantially harmed Congressmen Delahunt’s constituents. Steel workers, electrical workers, members of the carpenters and painters unions — all these and others would be employed during the wind project’s construction process. Other maritime-industry unions would be employed throughout the life of the project to provide operation and maintenance services.

I just hate that kind of crap. But I feel a little bit better after writing about it. :-)

By the way, let me know if the video works for you. I got it started, paused it until it had downloaded, and then watched it. But let me know if you have problems with it.

Update: Author Wendy Williams, who exposed this hypocrisy in the first place, dropped by and left a comment below. Her book on this subject is: Cape Wind: Money, Celebrity, Class, Politics, and the Battle for Our Energy Future on Nantucket Sound.