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Cape Wind and the Environment

Myth: Cape Wind is an environmentally benign project and would not harm local fisheries.
Fact: Cape Wind threatens the marine environment and would harm the productive, traditional fisheries of Nantucket Sound.

From the bottom up, the construction and operation of Cape Wind's 25 square mile industrial plant threatens benthic, marine, and avian species. In addition to the lengthy and destructive construction process that would include dredging, jet plowing, and pile driving, the plant's 10 story Electrical Service Platform would hold 40,000 gallons of hazardous oil in the middle of the 130 turbine array.Cape Wind's proposed site, Horseshoe Shoal, is a traditional and lucrative fishing ground where many hardworking local fishermen earn up to 50%-60% of their annual income.

The electrical service platform (ESP) below would soar 10 stories high, cover 1/2 an acre, and contain 40,000 gallons of undisclosed oil that, in the event of a rupture, would reach Cape and Islands beaches within 5 hours.

 
 
Oil spill map: Cape Wind's own computer simulation of a spill reveals that oil would reach Cape Cod and Island beaches within 5 hours. An analysis commissioned by the Alliance showed significant adverse impacts to the Nantucket Sound ecosystem, including harmful impacts to wildlife and shellfish/fish from a spill incident.
 
  
 
 
Adverse environmental effects
Nantucket Sound is home to several species of endangered and protected birds and marine mammals and has been designated an Essential Fish Habitat.  Cape Wind’s construction and operations would threaten this rich and fragile environment.  Numerous environmental organizations led by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility are in the process of challenging the remanded decisions from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, resulting from the court ruling March 2014 that these agencies violated the Endangered Species Act.
 

The Cape Wind project, with its transformer substation holding over 40,000 gallons of oil, would introduce the chance of a devastating oil spill into Nantucket Sound.  Cape Wind’s own studies indicate a 90% chance that oil from the transformer substation would reach the shoreline of the Cape & Islands in less than five hours in the event of a spill.

Dredging, pile driving, and jet plowing to install 130 turbines and nearly 100 miles of cable in the seabed would devastate the sea floor, potentially harm marine mammals, smother bottom dwelling organisms, kill juvenile fish, and drive off adult fish. The project would endanger the dense population of songbirds, sea ducks, and federally protected piping plovers and roseate terns. Moreover, the project would devastate the struggling commercial fishing industry in Nantucket Sound and is vehemently opposed by numerous commercial and recreational fishing groups.

Horseshoe Shoal is a component of the Atlantic Flyway
As many as six million birds migrate through the area in the spring and fall, usually at heights well above the turbine blades, except in foul weather when low cloud ceiling cause the birds to fly at altitudes the same as the height of the rotors, creating the potential for an episodic catastrophic kill of migrating birds. The Sound also provides important habitat to sea and shorebirds with as many as 250,000 to 500,000 sea ducks wintering in the Sound for approximately six months of the year. Biologically important numbers of endangered roseate terns and piping plovers use the Sound as a breeding and feeding area in the summer months and are known to migrate through Nantucket Sound in spring and fall. Each August, thousands of roseates congregate on Monomoy Island prior to migration and then leave in great flocks, flying southeast, south, and southwest. How many of these birds pass through the proposed Wind site has not been verified.

Claims toxic chemical could threaten water supply
The Barnstable Town Council took a strong stand against the placement of potentially toxic oil-filled equipment at an NStar substation in Independence Park in Hyannis that would accommodate an offsore wind farm's electricity into the regional grid. The main concern is a potential oil spill into the town's nearby municipal wells. Link to Barnstable Patriot 

 

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