This is a fishing expedition undertaken by the Conservation Society to enrich itself at the expense of the health of our planet.
Bill Fitzgerald lives in Newport.
I read that the Newport County Conservation Society is filing a lawsuit to stop or change a wind farm being developed 15 miles offshore. I was a little dumbfounded. How will this help them? Perception is everything in tourism and makes the Conservation Society look like a NIMBY poster for the fossil fuel industry.
I guess that’s what the rich and powerful do if they don’t like something.
In the complaint, the Conservation Society argued that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management improperly approved wind farms that would harm historic resources in the city of Newport, which relies heavily on heritage tourism. She claimed that federal law “makes clear that ‘views’ of historic resources are as important as bricks and mortar. These appeals seek to preserve historic and pristine views from industrial-scale development.”
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The “viewscape” of the Cliff Walk Preservation Society mansions faces east rather than south, with views of Sachuest Point, Second Beach, and Little Compton. The windmill farms would be to the south and the nearest would be 15 miles away.
The New England coast is known for fog, rain, clouds, and poor visibility offshore. Sure we get some good days, but they are in the minority. Visibility at sea level on a clear day is less than 3 miles. I know the elevation makes things clearer, but at 15 miles you should have a stunning day and a keen eye to see anything at that distance.
Based on clear sky charts, I found that Rhode Island averages about 80 clear sky days per year. This is calculated by counting the number of days with cloud cover less than 20% and transparency more than 80%. This leaves us with 285 days of less-than-ideal visibility, making it unlikely to see almost anything within 15 miles. So you might be able to see the windmills once every four or five days.
So why did the Newport County Preservation Society file a lawsuit? As I’ve learned in life, it’s usually about money.
Was the group a front or a blind for the wealthy NIMBY writing the checks? Or is it a backdoor attempt to get settlement money from this $6 billion project to produce clean electricity?
Nantucket and Block Island have reportedly reached major financial mitigation agreements with offshore wind developers. Block Island was reportedly compensated $2.5 million for the visual effects of that farm.
The wind project has an estimated capacity of more than 700 megawatts of renewable energy, is capable of supplying energy to approximately 250,000 homes, and is expected to create about 1,200 job opportunities during construction. Additionally, Ørsted and Eversource will invest $40 million in improving Rhode Island Port infrastructure.
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As for the environmental impact of the windmills off Block Island, the Boston Globe reported: “The only significant effect they found from the wind turbines was positive: Much more black sea bass were congregating around the Block Island wind farm, perhaps because they like it.” To hang out near physical structures such as wind turbine foundations.” The fish appear to feed on mussels that grow on the turbines themselves.
The more I researched this, the more it seemed to me that it was a fishing expedition undertaken by the Nature Conservancy to enrich itself at the expense of the health of our planet.
This Christmas season, if you’re planning to spend $40 to visit Sparkling Lights at The Breakers and stroll along a half-mile path sparkling with hundreds of thousands of holiday lights while music fills the winter air, ask yourself where does electricity come from? all of the lights. They could have been green!