Growing Cape Wind Opposition Brings Windfall Funds to Environmental Group

Growing Cape Wind Opposition Brings Windfall Funds to Environmental Group

Gale Courey Toensing
11/22/11

The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound has reported an increase in fundraising revenues in parallel to growing opposition to the proposed Cape Wind energy plant in public waters off Cape Cod.

The Hyannis-based 501c3 nonprofit environmental organization, which serves as an umbrella group for dozens of elected officials, organizations, municipalities, businesses and other entities opposed to the massive wind energy proposal, announced in a press release Nov. 18, that its fundraising revenues grew by more than 20 percent last year.

“Owing largely to an increase in opposition to Cape Wind following the disclosure that the project would result in more than $2 billion in new electric costs to Massachusetts consumers and businesses, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound today announced a 22 percent jump in fundraising revenues during 2010,” the Alliance said in prepared statement. The group also reported that 2011 revenues to date have already exceeded the total annual revenue for last year.

The Alliance reported revenues of $1.74 million in 2010, up from $1.42 million in 2009. Expenses also increased as opposition to Cape Wind moved from the regulatory arena to the courts. Cape Wind currently faces numerous lawsuits from environmental groups, local communities, fisherman, Indian tribes, business groups and others. In a legal victory in October the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia revoked the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) determination that the Cape Wind project would present no hazard to the 400,000 flights that travel over Nantucket Sound. The appeals court remanded the issue back to the agency for review. The Alliance and the Town of Barnstable, Mass., one of its partner organizations, had petitioned the court for the review.

Cape Wind proposes the construction of 130 turbines across almost 50 square miles of Nantucket Sound where they would tower 440 feet above ocean level. The installation would obliterate the Mashpee and Aquinnah Wampanoag tribes’ unimpeded view of the rising sun, ruining a crucial ceremony that is central to their identity and destroy the ocean bed that was once the dry land where their ancestors lived and died. The Aquinnah Nation is a plaintiff in one of the pending lawsuits against the wind energy company.

More than 85 percent of the group’s donations came from small donors in amounts less than $500, according to the release. “That small donors continue to support our cause amid difficult economic times is strong evidence of the growing chorus of opposition to Cape Wind and the overpriced power being forced on Massachusetts consumers and businesses by a no-bid backroom deal with National Grid,” Audra Parker, President and CEO of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, said. “The exorbitant cost of Cape Wind is made even more galling by the fact that there are abundant sources of green energy available to Massachusetts residents at a fraction of the cost.”

In a recent survey of 400 Massachusetts voters, 56 percent rejected more government subsidies for Cape Wind and the electricity rate increases that would result from the project, the Alliance said. In May the federal government denied Cape Wind a $2 billion loan guarantee.

“Cape Wind has yet to attract a single private investor, has been shunned by Washington subsidy programs, and has failed to find a buyer for its overpriced power,” Parker said.

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