Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit self-styled environmental organization dedicated to the opposition of the Cape Wind project[1] and to the long-term preservation of Nantucket Sound.[2]

It was formed in 2001 in response to Cape Wind's proposal to build a wind farm in the Sound. Its goal is to protect Nantucket Sound in perpetuity through conservation, environmental action, and opposition to inappropriate industrial or commercial development. The Alliance supports formal designation of Nantucket Sound as a marine protected area. [1]

Alliance membership and allies include the Town of Barnstable, Associated Industries of MA, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Martha’s Vineyard/Dukes County Fishermen’s Association, Wampanoag Tribe of Gayhead / Aquinnah, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, grass-roots citizen groups, [2], wealthy residents of Cape Cod, executives in fossil fuel industries, some local towns, Chambers of Commerce, several environmental groups, many fishing and recreation groups, and public figures including billionaire oil heir William Koch, former mining executive Doug Yearley (deceased), former candidate for U.S. President and Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, the late U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, Attorney General Tom Reilly, and Congressman Bill Delahunt.[1][3][4] Its current president is Audra Parker of Barnstable [3] . Among its directors have been Dan Wolf, President and CEO of airline Cape Air, along with former candidate for Massachusetts governor and convenience store baron Christy Mihos (source: public records at the Massachusetts Division of Corporations).


The Alliance was formed in 2001 to oppose the proposal to build a 130 turbine 24 square mile renewable energy wind farm in Nantucket Sound called Cape Wind [4]. It suffered a setback in 2003 when its spokesperson, retired news anchor Walter Cronkite in a change of heart, requested that all of his ads in support of The Alliance be pulled, and said he would withhold further judgement until an environmental impact statement is complete.[5]

Since then, with ongoing support from stakeholders, ten years into the fight, Cape Wind still cannot begin construction. On October 28, 2011, the US Court of Appeals ruled to revoke a key approval by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Earlier in 2011, the Wampanoag Tribe of Gayhead /Aquinnah joined a dozen other plaintiffs in four existing federal cases against the Department of Interior and filed its own lawsuit. [5]


The stated goal of the Alliance is to protect Nantucket Sound in perpetuity through conservation, environmental action, and opposition to inappropriate industrial or commercial development that would threaten or negatively alter the coastal ecosystem. The Alliance supports formal designation of Nantucket Sound as a marine protected area.[citation needed]

When Alliance supporter, Bill Koch, was asked to expound on his well-known opposition to Cape Wind he said "I don't know if you know it, but I was in the alternative-energy business for 20 years, and we looked very carefully at wind farms. We looked long and hard at windmills, and finally concluded that they are not a good form of power -- for a lot of reasons, but primarily because the capital costs are too high. The only way to make them work is with significant tax breaks or government subsidies of some sort, which is why the Nantucket Sound project in particular is just a boondoggle."

He continued: "It's going to be intensely capital-expensive, especially with the initial costs of sinking the towers into the seabed and the costs associated with maintaining them. The ocean is a very hostile, corrosive environment for these things, and that's the conclusion they're coming to even in Europe, where offshore windmills have been very popular. More and more Europeans have begun to see them as a pain in the neck.

"Number two, you get power only when the wind blows, and most people, most customers, want a consistent, reliable source of power. Wind is not a consistent, reliable source of power, and by introducing it into the power grid, you have to adapt to the fluctuations in the quantity going in.

"Thirdly," said Koch, "because of tax breaks and the 'green' requirements now involved with energy contracts, if a Massachusetts energy wholesaler wants to sell electricity, he has to buy a certain percentage of alternative energy. This means the developer would expect an above-average price for his utility, because the wholesaler would have to buy it, and that would add as much as three or four cents [per kilowatt hour] to the cost -- which would raise the rates for everybody in Massachusetts, including Cape Cod.

"There's also the visual pollution, which only adds to the extremely high cost of this project, with virtually no public benefit.

"The argument that this wind farm would reduce our dependence on imported oil is pure sophistry. It would have no effect on imported oil. As a country, only 3 percent of our electricity comes from burning imported oil.

"The other thing that's wrong with this is that someone would have to build a peaking plant to even out the supply -- a plant that was operated by something other than wind, and that would have additional pollution associated with it, on top of being very expensive to build. So the whole argument that it would reduce pollution is just wrong. It's all baloney."[6]

In a candid moment, however, Alliance sponsor Bill Koch confided "I was telling one of my guys when this [wind farm] first came up, 'I wish I'd thought of this!' But as a businessman, I said I wouldn't have put it in my backyard -- I would have put it in someone else's backyard!"[6]

The Alliance supports wind power as an energy source, and promotes many forms of renewables. However, the organization is opposed the proposed wind power plant in Nantucket Sound due to potential adverse economic, environmental, and visual impacts as well as the lack of an appropriate review and permitting process and the absence of federal guidelines for offshore wind energy development.[citation needed]


While The Alliance to protect Nantucket styles itself as an environmental organization, some note that its co-chairman Bill Koch has a business empire based on oil refining.[7] Some of the other members have coastal properties with a direct view of Cape Wind's future site and consider the windmills an eyesore.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sheppard, Kate (2010-01-06), "Cape Wind Delay a Big Win for Dirty Energy Interests", Mother Jones 
  2. ^ Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, About Us, retrieved 2011-01-25 
  3. ^ Edward M. McNamara, Patrick George Derr (2003). Case Studies in Environmental Ethics. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 78. ISBN 0-7425-3137-6. 
  4. ^ Doyle, Tim (2006-09-21), "Koch's New Fight", Forbes magazine 
  5. ^ Ebbert, Stephanie (2003-08-29), "Cronkite urges full review of wind farm proposal", Boston Globe 
  6. ^ Blanchard, Jeff (2005-09-15). "Blanchard on Koch". Cape Cod Today. 

External links[edit]