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By Michael J. Smith on Thursday April 20, 2006 01:48 PM

Charlie Komanoff, an old comrade-in-arms of mine, calls our attention to a particularly unsavory example of self-serving backroom dealing by everybody's favorite scandalous old uncle, Ted Kennedy.

There's a proposal to build a windmill farm for electric power generation in Nantucket Sound -- a measure so obviously intelligent and environmentally sound that even the Green Party can't help supporting it.

Unfortunately, Nantucket Sound is a body of water almost entirely sourrounded by millionaires. Needless to say, these folks don't want their view of their neighbors' giant fume-spewing power yachts -- all that blue smoke, so pretty -- impaired by windmills. There is a fundamental leisure-class theorem which holds that anything utilitarian, however benign, must never be obtruded on a millionaire's notice; the aesthetic, by definition, must be pure consumption, and if it consumes large amounts of land or oil and generates abundant pollution, well, so much the better.

Among these wealthy Nantucket Sound consumer-aestheticians are the Kennedy family, and in particular, Uncle Ted and his somewhat rodentine nephew Robert Kennedy Jr. -- yes, the late McCarthy Bob's son. Bobby Jr. is a macher with the Natural Resources Defense Council, a prominent enviro group.

The Kennedys have been fighting this windmill project tooth and nail. Here's the latest:

A provision written specifically to stop the proposed Cape Wind project slated for offshore Nantucket Sound in Massachusetts was tucked into a bill that was voted out of committee on Thursday, April 6. No hearings had been held on the provision. The bill containing the provision still must be approved by the full House and Senate, which will be on spring recess over the next two weeks.

The action came when members of a House-Senate conference committee approved a final compromise version of an $8.7 billion Coast Guard authorization bill containing language allowing the Governor of Massachusetts the unrestricted power to veto the project. Current Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) is on the record opposing the Cape Wind project.

Leading the effort to stop the Cape Wind project by adding the veto provision to the bill were Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens (R) and Alaska Rep. Don Young (R), senior Congressional negotiators on the bill. In addition, "Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) spoke to Sen. Stevens in support of this provision," said Kennedy spokesperson Melissa Wagoner, who was quoted in an April 7 story by the Associated Press.

The Greens observe:
Among the wind farm's opponents are wealthy Cape Cod homeowners, including Mass. Sen. Ted Kennedy, his nephew Robert Kennedy, Jr., and the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, whose first president was CEO of Phelps-Dodge, a mining corporation that placed first on the EPA list of toxic emitters in Arizona and New Mexico. Other opponents include Senators John Warner and Lamar Alexander, whose families also own waterfront property on the Cape.
So we have Stevens, Young, Warner, Alexander, Romney -- all black-hats, of course -- and right there, cheek-to-cheek with them, Kennedy Maximus and Kennedy Minimus, who are not only white-hat Democrats but Kennedys [crosses self quickly three times].

There's some pretty wonderful other black-hats in there with the Kennedy boyz. Greenpeace ran down some 411 on a few of these:

A few weeks after the Cape Wind proposal was announced in 2001, Wayne Kurker, the owner of Hyannis Marina, started the [anti-windmill] Alliance. The stated purpose of the Alliance was, and is, to stop Cape Wind and to prevent wind turbines from being located in Nantucket Sound. Mr. Kurker has been on the receiving end of criticism from members of the community over the years about his marina expansion plans and over his marina buildings giving the Hyannis Inner Harbor an industrial look. Months after forming the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, Mr. Kurker was advocating for high-speed cigarette boat racing to occur in Nantucket Sound.

As the Alliance grew in 2002 from an active fundraising campaign, it obtained an office, hired several full-time staff and announced the selection of a CEO, Douglas Yearley. Mr. Yearley had retired to a large home overlooking Nantucket Sound after a long career at Phelps Dodge, an international copper and uranium mining company that under his watch as CEO was rated as the biggest polluter in Arizona by the Environmental Protection Agency. Mr. Yearley's tenure at Phelps Dodge was also recognized by Mother Jones Magazine (http://www.motherjones.com/news/special_reports/1995/07/piggies.html ) in their 1995 article, “10 Little Piggies. Forget welfare moms and the unemployed. No one feeds at the public trough like these ten.”

In 2005 the Cape Cod Times (http://www.capecodonline.com/special/windfarm/kochitxs7.htm) reported that the Alliance had selected Bill Koch as their new Co-Chairman, a part-time Cape resident who owns a multi-million dollar property in Osterville overlooking Nantucket Sound.... A billionaire who made much of his fortune in the coal and oil industries, Mr. Koch spoke about Cape Wind in a recent interview, ''So what? I'm interested in my view and the value of my property on the Cape,'' he said.... ''I freely admit I don't want to look at (the turbines).''

Although Mr. Koch began his energy business in Massachusetts, he moved his company to Florida for tax reasons. As reported in a St. Petersburg 2003 article entitled, “Big boys profit on mom-and-pops tax break, Many of Florida's largest private companies use tax exemptions created for small businesses, bypassing any corporate income tax”.

It seems Mr. Koch doesn't seem to object to energy projects in somebody else's back yard (http://www.sptimes.com/2003/12/28/State/Big_boys_profit_on_mo.shtml).

To paraphrase Mike Nichols and Elaine May's quip about Hyde Park -- Ahh, Cape Cod. Black hats and white hats working hand in hand to fuck the planet.

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