The Rush to Save the Climate [OPINION]
With climate change the cause du jour, there has been a rush by many politicians in Massachusetts to kowtow to the radical environmentalists who can control campaign cash and, thereby, votes. But some are suggesting we slow down a bit and consider where all of this is headed.
Officials with the Vineyard Wind offshore power project tell the State House News Service they have heard from the Department of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) that "they are not yet prepared to issue" the final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the 800-megawatt project. That decision was expected by Friday but apparently won't be made by then.
SHNS says "the project has received permits or approvals from the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board, the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act office, Cape Cod Commission, Barnstable Conservation Commission, Martha's Vineyard Conservation Commission, and the Nantucket Conservation Commission. The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities has also approved long-term power purchase contracts between Vineyard Wind and electric distribution companies for the delivery of offshore wind energy."
Governor Charlie Baker and the Massachusetts Legislature are also big supporters of the nation's first commercial-scale offshore wind project, but the project has its detractors as well.
The Edgartown Conservation Commission voted 5-1 to deny a Vineyard Wind permit for 400-megawatt export cables that would pass through the Muskeget Channel. And a group in Nantucket wants to delay project permitting, citing concerns about impacts on endangered Northern Atlantic right whales. NOAA Fisheries is calling for "immediate action" to save endangered whales in the area.
The New Bedford fishing industry has also expressed deep concerns about the impact the wind farm might have on commercial fisheries.
The rush to renewable energies has not been well thought out and in fact, may be more politically driven than anything else. While wind and solar offer a promising hope for reducing our need for fossil fuels, we are not there yet. Not even close. Yet politicians who are beholden to the environmental lobby are behaving as though we are.
The United States has for the first time become a world energy-generating leader. We produce enough energy to provide for our needs.
Environmentalists in Massachusetts have reduced the Commonwealth's ability to provide for itself by driving out coal and nuclear power. They refuse to allow for new natural gas pipeline development and demand an end to fossil fuels altogether. This is driving up the already highest-in-the-nation cost of energy for Massachusetts consumers.
Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are not proven yet and may even threaten the very environment their supporters say they are trying to protect. Let's think this through slowly before rushing headlong into what could be a very costly miscalculation in order to satisfy political agendas.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.