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Earth, air, fire and water

May 3, 2010 - Rob Weaver

Our nation’s appetite for energy is threatening a precious and pristine stretch of coastline -- at least, that was the view of some folks Wednesday.
No, I’m not referring to the oil spill which resulted from the offshore platform that exploded and sank. That was a couple weeks ago.
I’m writing about plans for the nation’s first offshore wind farm, which received federal approval last week. The wind farm, to be about 6 miles off Cape Cod at its closest point, is to have 130 windmills, each 440 feet tall.
Big, white windmills rising out of the water might sound better than big, black oil spilling all over the water -- and shoreline -- but some neighbors aren’t thrilled with the idea.
‘‘Nantucket Sound needs to be off limits to Cape Wind and any other industrial development,’’ Cape Cod resident Audra Parker of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound told The Associated Press.
The size and scope of the project may seem daunting. But I’ve attached an image which, courtesy of Capewind and digital manipulation, illustrates what the view would be like from shore. Other simulations can be seen at
Of course, if people don’t like messing with such vistas, there’s underground solutions to consider. One involves mining coal, and the related risk -- one which was fresh in mind until the oil-rig disaster.
The other involves storing spent nuclear fuel. A proposed repository at Yucca Mountain, Nev., was nixed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., with President Barack Obama’s support. Now, nuclear waste is stored at various sites around the country.
The view here is that each energy option has drawbacks. Use of wind and sunlight as energy sources seem less likely to impact the environment outside of their production footprints.


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