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Cape Reaction Is Mixed To Wind Farm Green Light

This article is more than 12 years old.

A stiff, gusty wind churned up the surf as waves crashed along the shore here. It's the fear of what harnessing this wind may do to the vista that has some locals still concerned after Wednesday's ruling by the Obama administration.

"To see Nantucket Sound targeted for industrialization makes us a little sad today," said Wendy Northcross, CEO of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce.

Nantucket Sound, viewed from Hyannisport Wednesday morning. (Steve Brown/WBUR)
Nantucket Sound, viewed from Hyannisport Wednesday morning. (Steve Brown/WBUR)

Northcross said the chamber has long been opposed to the location of the project, not to the need of renewable energy, including wind power. She says it's the Cape's "sense of place" that drives the area's tourist economy.

"I think people off Cape don't read exactly how our economy works, and how the concerns about this project are not necessarily based in fear, but in understanding how precious our water is," Northcross said. "That site is a recreational site, it's not just offshore where people don't go, it really is part of our recreational system, and we value it."

Companies that depend on the tourist trade remain wary of the impact the placement of the wind turbines would have on their business.

"Right from the get-go, our concerns have been based upon concern for public safety and navigation," said Murray Scudder, a vice president for HyLine, one of the major ferry services between Cape Cod and the Islands.

"And as the process has gone forward, many of those (concerns) have been addressed," Scudder said. "Still, some remain and we are hopeful that as the final terms and conditions come forward, from the U.S. Coast Guard for the project, that they are properly addressed."

He also sees a potential for an increase in business.

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"I think there's no question that as the project moves forward and being the largest marine wind turbine development in the world, I believe that you can't help but think that it will be an attraction for many to come and take a look at," Scudder said.

One Cape Codder who'll be looking is Peggy Mason, of Hyannisport.

Mason may be among the minority of supporters in her neighborhood, but she argues Cape Wind should be given a chance.

"We need sources of power, rather than just oil," Mason said. "Especially here on the Cape where we're limited to whatever comes over, comes over the bridge. It gets expensive. So, try it and see if it works, and go from there."

On the Cape, there's a sense that the debate over the placement of Cape Wind has gone on long enough. The issue has been contentious, and according to Northcross, many residents are weary.

"I do believe there's a lot of fatigue around this topic on Cape Cod," she said. "So I think there will be some resignation in some camps, and I think some camps will continue to fight it."

Some of those camps, including the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe of Martha's Vineyard, have indicated they will continue to fight, and will challenge the federal decision in court.

This program aired on April 29, 2010.

Steve Brown Twitter Senior Reporter/Anchor
Steve Brown is a veteran broadcast journalist who serves as WBUR's senior State House reporter.



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