“Cape Wind” Tribes might want to ask: Is the Department of Interior’s Minerals Management Service simply a rubber stamp for disaster?

In a New York Times opinion piece, which I commented on recently, there was some dispute about moving forward with the Cape Wind project, which Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has since approved.

In my post I noted this, ““In addition, and more problematically for Mr. Salazar, two Indian tribes have said that Nantucket Sound is of great cultural and spiritual significance to them and that building the turbines could disturb ancestral burial grounds on lands that were above water thousands of years ago.

Mr. Salazar’s own department is divided on the matter. The National Park Service believes the tribes have a case; the Minerals Management Service says the project should proceed.

I bring this up again because, since the oil rig disaster that killed 11 people and threatens the environment, many want to use the explosion to promote wind power and installations such as Cape Wind.

Leaving all that debate aside for the moment I ask you to focus on another issue, one I raised in another related post which had to do with respecting the Native American’s heritage and the potential impact Cape Wind could have on ancient grounds held sacred by the Tribes.

I suggest if you’re seeking to link the oil rig explosion and the offshore industrial wind plant at the Cape, perhaps try the Department of Interior’s very own MMS.  The Washington Post published this article today titled “U.S. exempted BP’s Gulf of Mexico drilling from environmental impact study.”

The Post article today states that “The Interior Department exempted BP’s calamitous Gulf of Mexico drilling operation from a detailed environmental impact analysis last year, according to government documents, after three reviews of the area concluded that a massive oil spill was unlikely.”

Further, “The decision by the department’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) to give BP’s lease at Deepwater Horizon a “categorical exclusion” from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on April 6, 2009

Fast forward to Secretary Salazar’s Cape Wind’s decision.  He chose to side with the MMS suggestion that the project move forward implying there was no danger that drilling for the wind turbines massive foundation pads would disturb the ancient grounds.  Secretary Salazar elected to ignore the statement by his own National Park Service which suggested the Native Americans had a case in believing that Cape Wind would destroy their ancient grounds.

A stretch on my part?  Consider what a Massachusetts Congressman said of the MMS decision to waive the detailed study of the BP platform, “I’m of the opinion that boosterism breeds complacency and complacency breeds disaster,” said Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) on Tuesday. “That, in my opinion, is what happened.”

Well, Congressman … we share your opinion on the results of of “boosterism!”  We see it in the increasing negative impact of industrial wind.

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