Cape Wind’s Bad Play
The town of Edgartown and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission are right in their request to intervene in the case against Cape Wind. This is an important case which goes to the heart of the powers of the Cape Cod Commission and by extension the Martha’s Vineyard Commission — the only two commissions of their kind in the commonwealth.
Last fall the Cape Cod Commission reviewed the part of the Cape Wind plan that calls for running a cable from the offshore wind turbines onto land at Yarmouth. A staff report from the commission found that the plan was lacking information on a number of points. In an exceedingly arrogant move, instead of providing the requested information, Cape Wind decided to snub the commission and simply refused to provide the information.
As a result, the commission rejected the plan, not on the merits but on procedural grounds because the application was incomplete. Cape Wind appealed to the Energy Facilities Siting Board and asked it to overrule the commission. Both boards are state agencies, and the question of who trumps whom is expected to ultimately be decided by a court.
Islanders have seen this before, the classic developer’s strong-arm tactic aimed at making an end run around the commission. It happened with the Wallace brothers in their epic battle against the town of Edgartown and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission over Herring Creek Farm, and it happened with would-be golf course developer Corey Kupersmith in his bitter war against the town of Oak Bluffs and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission over the Southern Woodlands.
The Wallaces challenged three-acre zoning in the rural coastal perimeters of Edgartown in an expensive, drawn-out, acrimonious lawsuit. Mr. Kupersmith challenged the right of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission to review Chapter 40B housing developments.
Both times the towns and the commission prevailed.
The Cape Wind developers have made a bad play; if they are really serious about wanting a fair review for their project, they would do well to return to the table and provide the Cape Cod Commission with a set of straight answers to its questions.
The people of Cape Cod deserve as much.