Ted Kennedy Opposes “Big Wind”

One thing I strive hard not to be is a hypocrite. If I suggest that we need to conserve energy or reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, you can bet I am striving to walk the talk. I have very little tolerance for political leaders who ask people to make sacrifices they are unwilling to make, or otherwise display hypocrisy. Hypocrisy just really gets under my skin.

I watch very little TV, but I love The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. And I get it here in Scotland, albeit a day delayed. Last month, I was watching an episode, and Jason Jones did a segment on Ted Kennedy’s opposition to a wind farm. This was the first I had heard about this. Why was Kennedy opposed? Because it was near his home.

As Jones reported:

“It looked bad for the native population, until one man stood up … Yes. Ted Kennedy – noted man from Nantucket and co-sponsor of dozens of renewable energy bills – took a stand—against the wind farms.”

While I was working on this, I ran across the clip, so you can see it for yourself. If you want to see textbook hypocrisy, here you go. Ted Kennedy, supporter of alternative energy – as long as it doesn’t affect his property value.

The skit would have been funnier if it didn’t tick me off so much. Watthead, a fellow energy blogger, commented at the time:

Cape Wind – The Story Behind the Daily Show Video

I read a number of articles on the controversy following the airing of the clip, and it supported the implications from the Daily Show clip: Ted Kennedy was looking out for his self-interest, and that of a small but wealthy minority.

And I just happened to read another article on the controversy today, which is what prompted me to write this essay:

William Delahunt’s ‘Deepwater’ Deceptions

The article says subscription only, but is available as of this writing. The article explains that an effort is underway to deflect criticism from those who oppose the wind project by suggesting deepwater technology may be a better option:

FOR WELL OVER A YEAR now, Congressman William Delahunt and his chief aide, Mark Forest, have been telling constituents that “deepwater” wind technology is a viable alternative to Cape Wind, the 130-turbine, 468-megawatt offshore wind-energy project proposed for Nantucket Sound in front of Delahunt constituent Edward M. Kennedy’s Hyannisport home.

“This is not spin,” the congressman wrote in a local newspaper.

It most certainly is.

“Deepwater wind” refers to wind-turbine technology that could safely be built in deep ocean waters. Waters roughly 10 meters deep are currently the norm for offshore-wind-power technology but Delahunt suggests that wind turbines in waters 35 to 45 meters are commercially viable.

Maybe in two decades, experts say, but certainly not any time soon.

And then the reason for the deepwater deception:

Why is Congressman Delahunt misleading the public?

Deepwater wind is the favorite “alternative” of the wealthy folk who oppose the ambitious Cape Wind project proposed for Nantucket Sound. This project has been delayed for more than six years, primarily because of inexcusable political meddling.

These politically engendered delays have substantially harmed Congressmen Delahunt’s constituents. Steel workers, electrical workers, members of the carpenters and painters unions — all these and others would be employed during the wind project’s construction process. Other maritime-industry unions would be employed throughout the life of the project to provide operation and maintenance services.

I just hate that kind of crap. But I feel a little bit better after writing about it. 🙂

By the way, let me know if the video works for you. I got it started, paused it until it had downloaded, and then watched it. But let me know if you have problems with it.

Update: Author Wendy Williams, who exposed this hypocrisy in the first place, dropped by and left a comment below. Her book on this subject is: Cape Wind: Money, Celebrity, Class, Politics, and the Battle for Our Energy Future on Nantucket Sound.

21 thoughts on “Ted Kennedy Opposes “Big Wind””

  1. I saw it a month or so ago. Very funny. I liked the part where they tried to go to the beach but it was a gated community!

    Speaking of hypocrisy, I posted this link in another part of the blog:
    Big Oil’s Big Stall on Energy

    Wow, I didn’t know that big oil was reaping the big ethanol subsidy. How stupid that we blended all that MTBE for so many years.

  2. It was sure fun doing the show!
    Almost as much fun as writing the book which started it all.
    Wendy Williams, author
    Cape Wind: Energy, Class, Politics and the Battle for Our Energy Future On Nantucket Sound

  3. Great stuff RR and King. Amazing the power elected officials have to eschew the common good when their own interests are involved. Yet these are the same politicians that would like to force for-profit companies, like oil and gas firms, to install E85 pumps at their stations when the economics clearly don’t support it…

  4. I enjoyed it tremendously. Good that they took it to the broad audience and showed them what those wind turbines would look like (tiny) from shore.

    and geez, learn from history. in no time they’d be quaint.

  5. Yeah, the phonies in Cape Cod need to just accept the windmills and shut up. But…don’t forget that Jeb Bush is proud to have banned oil drilling anywhere off the coast of Florida. So…it is okay to drill in ANWR, but not Florida.
    I am sick of America’s elites, and lifestyles of the rich and famous, and the whole stupid scene.
    America’s middle class simply does not recognize how to protect its own economic interests.
    We have an one elite that says the war in Iraq is just so vital…that we gave our ourselves two huge tax breaks to pay for it, and we will make sure our sons and daughters won’t go there…and we have another elite more concerned with the rights of lesbians and abortionists than about some guy who works for a living (no, I am not against gays and I think abortion is a private matter. But these are the No.1 issues?)
    Energy policy? What’s that? Tax policy? Too boring.

  6. Gore? I’d say he and Edwards have faced much sketchier cases for ‘hypocrisy.’

    Those basically say that they should not live like their peers if they are also going to talk about the environment.

    My that measure, most Americans (who live like their peers), would be excluded from the conversation.

    Perhaps that is the goal.

  7. Wendy – I enjoyed your appearance on the Daily Show. Anything we can do to help? Maybe a bit of reverse psychology. As shills for big energy we could write letters praising the Kennedys for blocking wind power and making us richer. That would be disengenious because we really like wind power too!

    If you want to write another book, there is a certain northeastern state governor and attorney general who repeatedly call for investigations into collusion and price fixing by the oil and gas industry. Yet those same two officials take large political contributions from energy traders and hedge fund managers who are making massive amounts of money in the paper energy markets. At the same time this AG and governor block all proposed energy infrastructure in their state and castigate the energy companies.

  8. Good that they took it to the broad audience and showed them what those wind turbines would look like (tiny) from shore.


    It’s much worse than a mere “appearance issue.” The real concern of the Nantucket Sounders is that those turbines sticking out of the water would interfere with their off-shore summer yacht races.

    Just wouldn’t be good form to run into a turbine mast while luffing around the yachting course. Might make that post-race gin and tonic at the club house less enjoyable.


  9. Here is my vote for hypocrit of the week, perhaps even the solar year:
    James Hansen and the Politicization of Science

    The good Dr. said this just last month in respose to having to correct an error in reporting US temperature data:

    “I believe that these people are not stupid, instead they seek to create a brouhaha and muddy the waters in the climate change story. They seem to know exactly what they are doing and believe they can get away with it, because the public does not have the time, inclination, and training to discern what is a significant change with regard to the global warming issue.”

    “The contrarians will be remembered as court jesters. There is no point to joust with court jesters. They will always be present. They will continue to entertain even if the Titanic begins to take on water. Their role and consequence is only as a diversion from what is important.

    The real deal is this: the ‘royalty’ controlling the court, the ones with the power, the ones with the ability to make a difference, with the ability to change our course, the ones who will live in infamy if we pass the tipping points, are the captains of industry, CEOs in fossil fuel companies such as EXXON/Mobil, automobile manufacturers, utilities, all of the leaders who have placed short-term profit above the fate of the planet and the well-being of our children. The court jesters are their jesters, occasionally paid for services, and more substantively supported by the captains’ disinformation campaigns.”

    He said this while recieving support from a George Soros funded public policy group and claiming to be “silenced” by the Bush administration. Hansen knows a paid court jester when he sees one – every day in the mirror.

  10. you know, anonymous, the whole ‘fake global warming’ thing would go down a lot easier if arctic sea ice were not at a long-term minimum.

    I’m not arguing for or against climate change. I’m saying that Hansen is a hypocrit for claiming the Bush administration is “silencing” him, yet he manages to give hundreds of interviews. Then he labels some people “paid court jesters” when he accepts assistance from George Soros.

    Liberals (like Union of Concerned Scientists) complain about the politicizing of science and claim James Hansen as their poster boy. Now we find out that he Hansen is “politicized” and used by Soros and others to advance a political agenda.

  11. Swiftboating James Hansen

    I didn’t bring up Hansen’s earlier work supporting global cooling. Scientists early theories are often proved wrong later by the data. But now that you brought it up, there are some similarities between Hansen and Kerry.

    If Kerry had not made his Vietnam service a central issue in his campaign, there would have been no reason for the Swift Boat veterans to come out against him. Remember Kerry shows up at the Democratic convention salutes and says “Reporting for duty.”. This is the same guy who tetified before congress describing attrocities in Vietnam, and offending those who served with him. And BTW, Kerry has STILL not signed the form opening his complete military records to the public. Why not? President Bush did.

    Likewise, Hansen makes his credentials as a NASA scientist and his supposed silencing by the Bush administration as his central claim to fame. Then we find out that a Soros funded group worked with Hansen on media access and training. Yes, I think it undercuts Hansen’s credibility.

    I googled “James Hansen” and “Global Warming” and got 1,500,000 page returns. Hardly sounds like he is being silenced. He has appeared on CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, NY Times, 60 Minutes, and other major media outlets. About the only media channel he’s missed is the Cartoon Network. Who knows, he may have been parodied on Family Guy.

  12. “credentials as a NASA scientist”

    You know, that is worth a chuckle.

    I’ve got to admit that when I was a kid credentials as a NASA scientist did matter more than an anonymous voice in a bar (or now, on the internet).

    It was presumed that there was a standard for entry at NASA than a bar (or now, the internet).

  13. Fine, drink the global warming Kool-Aid.

    When Hansen and others start talking about the confidence in their data, uncertainty in their models and predictions, and a range of possible outcomes, then I might be convinced.

    For now I can’t tell where the politics leave off and the science begins.

    Hansen latest predcition says we have until 2016 to do something before it is too late. Great, we only have to listen to him for 9 more years.

  14. anonimouse said:

    When Hansen and others start talking about the confidence in their data, uncertainty in their models and predictions, and a range of possible outcomes, then I might be convinced.

    All of that is very thoroughly discussed in the IPCC reports.

  15. All of that is very thoroughly discussed in the IPCC reports.

    Which don’t necessarily predict the end of the world. But those pushing this cause are using the most extreme scenarios to advance public policy – policies that lead to bigger government, more taxes, and generally more control and less freedom.

    Al Gore and others may be right, or they may be using this issue to advance a political agenda that they can’t sell to the public without creating a looming disaster.

    Which gets me back to windmills in Nantuckett. Either this is a major global problem, for which cluttering Ted Kennedy’s view is a small price to pay. Or it is not a big deal, and we can argue about the windmills.

    Liberals like the Kennedys should not be allowed to have it both ways.

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