Editorial: Wampanoags blowing smoke on wind

"Let’s see if we have this straight: The Wampanoag tribe is claiming the construction of the Cape Wind project would threaten or destroy their religion by impeding sacred rituals that require an unblocked view of the sunrise over Nantucket Sound. Would this be the same people whose Aquinnah tribe is proposing a wind turbine for the Gay Head cliffs on Martha’s Vineyard?

The Wampanoags’ attempt to have the federal government classify all of Nantucket Sound as a “traditional cultural property” is truly a stretch, but if successful could put an end to a lot more than Cape Wind. First proposed in 2001, Cape Wind has been fought at every turn — often by the same environmentalists who argue that wind power and other forms of renewable energy are vital to the planet’s future. Apparently, such concerns are satisfied best when the turbines are in someone else’s field of view.

On Thursday, the executive director of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Brona Simon, decided the Wampanoags’ arguments merited further study — meaning yet another delay for the project.

The Wampanoags are also arguing that the tribe’s ancient burial grounds lie in Horseshoe Shoals, beneath the waves and on the very spot where the Cape Wind turbines would be erected. Archaeologists have not been able to find any such evidence. Small wonder: Nantucket Sound hasn’t been dry since the last Ice Age, which ended between 12,000 and 15,000 years ago. Establishing the truth of such fleeting claims is essentially impossible."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Blowing smoke (The Worcester Telegram 11/10)

Also Today:
Markey presses for Cape Wind approval (The Boston Globe 11/10)
Markey backs wind farm in letter to Salazar (The Cape Cod Times 11/10)

Related Stories:
Letter backs Massachusetts tribes on sacred site (11/6)
Interior promises action on wind turbine project (11/3)
Editorial: Reject tribal claim on wind turbine site (11/2)
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)