Editors; Vineyard Gazette:
The following letter was sent to Sen. Robert O’Leary and Rep. Tim Madden from Martha’s Vineyard Commission executive director Mark London:
At the meeting of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission held on Thursday, Jan. 22, the commission passed the following motion.
In that the impacts of the Cape Wind project will most directly affect the Cape and Islands, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission supports the proposal that a portion of the project royalties received by the commonwealth of Massachusetts be distributed to the Cape and Islands to help offset these impacts, and that the commonwealth establish a mechanism for receiving and equitably distributing all royalties.
Please let me know if there is anything we can do to help move this idea forward.
REALITY VS PERCEPTION
Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
I take exception to the perception that was created by the Jan. 23 article in the Gazette titled “A Green Light For Cape Wind.” The story reports that the Cape Wind project “now seems all but sure to go ahead” and that “some minor regulatory hurdles remain to be cleared.”
The reality is that there are still more than 20 regulatory agencies that need to sign off on this project. The Cape Cod Commission is one of them and they have already said no to the project as it was presented.
The story also reports, from a press release by Cape Wind “that of the 42,000 odd written public comments received, more than 40,000 were in support of the project.” The reality is that I witnessed an overwhelming opposition to this project at all eight DEIS comment meetings with the Army Corps and Minerals Management Service.
At the last MMS meeting in Boston the first 75 minutes were filled with speakers opposing the project. In two nonbinding referendum issues voted on, in Nantucket and Mashpee, the results were more than 60 per cent opposed to the project.
The biggest perception reiterated from the Cape Wind release is that “the project is intended to produce 454 MW of electricity, with average production of 182 MW, or about 75 percent of total demand on the Cape and Islands.” The reality is that this would require the turbines to be 100 per cent functional and the wind blowing 19 miles per hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.
There has not been one wind farm anywhere in the world that has ever achieved more than 30 per cent of it’s capacity factor.
In an editorial written in the Cape Cod Times on Jan. 24 we find this statement from William Tucker, an energy expert, in the Wall Street Journal last month: “Windmills generate power only 25 per cent of the time and can change output minute to minute. A contemporary electric grid is a highly tuned instrument that cannot vary in voltage by more than a few percentage points without causing brownouts or damaging electric equipment.
“That’s why Denmark has not closed a single fossil-fuel plant even though it has built thousands of windmills.”
From an article at aweo.org we find this fact: Denmark (population 5.3 million) has over 6,000 turbines that produced electricity equal to 19 per cent of what the country used in 2003. Yet no conventional power plant has been shut down.
Throughout Europe, wind turbines produced on average less than 20 per cent of their theoretical (or rated) capacity. Yet both the British and the American Wind Energy Associations plan for 30 per cent. The figure in Denmark was 19 per cent in 2003 (in February 2003, the output of the more than 6,000 turbines in Denmark was 0).
Onshore turbines in the U.K. produced at 24.1 per cent of their capacity in 2003. The average in Germany for 1998-2003 was 14.7 per cent. In the U.S., usable output (representing wind power’s contribution to consumption, according to the Energy Information Agency) in 2002 was 12.7 per cent of capacity. In California, the average is 20 per cent. The Searsburg plant in Vermont averages 23 per cent, declining every year.
And from the Department of Energy Web site we find the electric rates for all countries. As of the end of 2006 (the last year reported on for Denmark) Denmark’s electric rate was $.322/Kwh, Germany’s rate was $.258/Kwh, with the United States at $.104/Kwh.
I believe that we as consumers should be presented with factual information, not some perceived notions that have been created by some entity in an attempt to make an issue more palatable or easy to support. We are in hard times economically and environmentally. Decisions need to be made on sound, verifiable information. We only need to look at those who have gone before us and use their experiences, accomplishments, and failures to make the best possible decision for our future.
I suggest that journalists, the media and those in positions to impart information, insure that they are providing accurate information to the public. Like the man said, just the facts, ma’am, just the facts!
Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
The following letter was sent to the Aquinnah selectmen regarding a preliminary plan to build an outdoor performing arts facility at the Gay Head Cliffs:
My name is Bettina Washington and I am the tribal historic preservation officer for the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah). I am writing to voice the tribe’s concern over article two on the special town meeting warrant. Since time immemorial, the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) has lived in the entire area that is being considered for this action. We hold this landscape not only culturally, but spiritually significant to our well-being and we are charged with the responsibility for the protection and preservation of history, traditions and culture of our nation.
The history and culture of our people is indistinguishable from our tribal identity and our tribal spirit and spirituality. The evidence of our history, traditions and culture is the ultimate link to who we are as a people. The cultural impact of this site to the Wampanoag people is immeasurable.
This location is of paramount historical, traditional and cultural significance to the Aquinnah Wampanoag people. This is our ancient homeland and this site is an extraordinary piece of cultural history for our people, from ancient times until present. Any proposal that will profoundly adversely and negatively impact this culturally significant and spiritually sensitive Wampanoag ceremonial site will be vigorously opposed.
In addition, the Circle is adjacent to a national natural landmark, the Gay Head Clay Cliffs, held in trust by the federal government for the tribe. The tribe is prepared to utilize and call upon all federal acts and executive orders to help us protect our cultural properties including, but not limited to, the National Historic Preservation Act, the Archeological and Historic Preservation Act, the Archeological Resource Protection Act, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, as well as executive order 13007.
Our shared contemporary history makes this a shared concern and shared treasure for us all. We look forward to working with the town to ensure the proper preservation of such an important cultural and spiritual vista. We hope that the town and its residents will see the value of protecting this most significant place and assist us in respecting, protecting and preserving this space for all time.
Bettina M. Washington
GIFT OF LIFE
Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
According to the nurses and technicians at the blood drive on Jan. 27 here on the Vineyard, “It was very successful‚ crazy busy, and it seems like we collected 50 per cent more than the usual drives!”
I saw at least 10 people turned away toward the end of the drive, unless they had an appointment, because there were so many people in line.
The next drive is toward the end of April; make an appointment. See what you and your employer, employees, friends, families, etc. can do to help increase awareness and have an even more successful drive.
If you have ideas that could improve the drive’s success, e-mail Lisa Godlewski at the Red Cross at Godlewskili@usa.redcross.org. They are considering different hours (later in day), and other ways to promote the drive.
Good job Vineyarders. Help save a stranger’s life by donating blood (actually, your donation can save up to three lives).
FERRY TO THE RESCUE
Editors’ Vineyard Gazette:
I would like to thank the Steamship Authority employees of the 9:30 boat leaving Vineyard Haven on January 16, whose names unfortunately I didn’t get, and Kurt, a SSA employee on the 3:45 returning to the Vineyard, for going above and beyond to assist us in getting Beverly and her wheelchair close enough to the elevator. Kurt actually moved three lanes of vehicles so that we could get to the car and then helped us get her and her wheelchair in.
I really cannot say enough about how accommodating SSA employees were to make riding the SSA for anyone with special handicap needs very easy.
Maureen, Beverly and Allie Gazaille
The Vineyard Gazette welcomes letters to the editor on any subject concerning Martha’s Vineyard. The newspaper strives to publish all letters as space allows, although the editor reserves the right to reject letters that in her judgment are inappropriate. Letters must be signed, and should include a place of residence and contact telephone number. The Gazette does not publish anonymous letters.