Editorial: Reject tribal claim on wind turbine site

"After eight years of arduous state and federal environmental reviews, the promoters of Cape Wind, a wind energy project off the Massachusetts coast, had every reason to believe that they were home free. Then the Wampanoag tribes asked the Interior Department to declare all of Nantucket Sound, where the 130 wind turbines would be built, a “traditional cultural property” and, they hoped, block construction.

Tribal officials say their culture requires them to greet the sunrise each day and that this ritual requires unobstructed views. Their claim should be rejected by the responsible federal and state officials. Another round of bureaucratic reviews would drag out an approval process that has gone on much too long and give opponents time to find some other way to derail the effort.

The tribes’ claim seems unsupportable. “Traditional cultural properties” tend to be defined areas — a ceremonial burial ground, for instance — not a huge, unenclosed portion of the ocean. Awarding Nantucket Bay such status could cast a legal shadow over a host of other activities, including shipping and commercial fishing.

There is also evidence that the tribes have been working hand-in-glove with the project’s main opposition group, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. The alliance includes many local people but has been largely underwritten by wealthy homeowners from Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod who hate the idea of having 440-foot windmills on the horizon."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Cape Wind (The New York Times 11/2)

Also Today:
Tribes claim wind farm would destroy sacred ritual (AP 11/2)

Related Stories:
Massachusetts tribes fight wind farm project (10/5)
Obama declined Aquinnah Wampanoag meeting (08/31)
Letter: Tribal opposition to wind energy project (07/16)
Massachusetts tribes oppose wind turbine site (7/15)
NYT Blog: Salazar on Indian Country rights-of-way (03/25)