Survey Says: Support for Cape Wind Surging
A recent survey (pdf) found that 87 percent of Massachusetts residents say they are now “more likely to support Cape Wind” in the wake of the recently issued draft environmental impact statement (EIS) that found no major environmental harms resulting from the project. It seems that the growing public consciousness of climate change is actually producing measurable shifts in the public mood. Time is clearly running out for Cape Wind opponents. And despite the recent 30-day extension of the public comment period granted by the U.S. Minerals Management Service (at the behest of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound), it is my firm belief that this project will soon get the federal stamp of approval it has been seeking (to go along with the federal approval it already got back in 2004). In what should make for a pretty entertaining roadshow, the MMS is beginning a four-night run of public hearings starting on Monday March 10th in West Yarmouth, MA. The hearings will then rumble through Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard before concluding in Boston on March 13. If you are not lucky enough to attend, what will certainly be “spirited” events, you may submit an e-comment no later than April 21.
The proposed Cape Wind project would be comprised of 130 wind turbines that could generate a maximum of 468 megawatts output with an average output of approximately 180 megawatts. The project is proposed to be located on federal submerged lands in Nantucket Sound off the coast of Massachusetts.
When compared with the data from previous research, it is clear that support is growing among Massachusetts residents. The research was conducted by the Civil Society Institute, a Massachusetts think tank focused on problem-solving interactions among people, and between communities, government and business. This most recent iteration of the survey research has a sample size of 1200 adults.
Highlights from the survey:
- Support for Cape Wind in Massachusetts statewide has grown to 86 percent -– compared to 84 percent in August 2007 and 81 percent in June 2006 surveys posing the same question.
- The growth in support for the Cape Wind project in Cape Cod/the Islands is even more striking -– rising to 74 percent in the new recent survey, compared to 61 percent in October 2007.
- 95 percent of state residents think it is “important” that “Massachusetts take the steps needed now to ‘unplug’ itself from coal– and oil-based power and ‘plug in’ to solar, wind and other clean energy sources.”
Photo Credit: phault via flickr