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The Libertarian

Vin Suprynowicz

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The forces of political correctness strive mightily to promote “alternative” energy sources at every turn -- and regardless of the cost or inconvenience to everyone else.

For example, always-PC California for years has required auto manufacturers to make sure a certain percentage of their cars sold in that state run on batteries or alternative fuels from plant sources. (And officials there have had to push back the enforcement deadline again and again, as consumers prove uncooperative with such high-minded central planning schemes.)

Of course, only a child could believe that cars which are plugged in to recharge each night (yes, even most current hybrids are “plug-ins” -- see http://calcars.org/) “cause no pollution” -- thank heaven that electricity flowing out of the wall doesn’t come from some distant smoke-bellowing coal-fired plant, or the very nuclear reactors that so appall PC Californians, eh?

Then there’s the manufacture of ethanol for auto fuel -- which can only be accomplished through heavy government subsidies to huge agribusiness conglomerates, given that the stuff costs as much to produce (when you count the fuel burned by the farm machinery that grows the corn) as any amount of gasoline it saves in our fuel tanks.

But when it comes to exposing the hypocrisy of the “alternative energy” gang, it would be hard to rival the experience of those who are trying in good faith to supplement our energy reserves with ... wind power.

“Jim Gordon wants to build the first offshore wind-energy plant in the U.S.,” reported the Bloomberg news service last week. “It hasn’t been smooth sailing.”

As president of Cape Wind Associates LLC, Mr. Gordon, 52, has proposed planting 130 wind-driven turbines -- each 417 feet tall -- across 24 square miles of Nantucket Sound’s sandy shallows, to capture the Sound’s persistent sea breezes. The sound is bounded by Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and its popular vacation islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Mr. Gordon says his project, with a 420-megawatt maximum output, offers an alternative to air-polluting plants like an oil-fired generator in nearby Sandwich, and would supply as much as 75 percent of Cape Cod’s electricity needs, potentially lighting 500,000 homes. It also plans to reap federal incentives designed to encourage power production from renewable energy resources.

But even in ultra-liberal Massachusetts, where residents now pay by the bag to haul trash to the town dump, “Gordon’s plan has divided Cape residents, with opponents faulting the proposed location and the effect the project may have on property values, tourism, fishing and other marine activities,” Bloomberg reports.

The turbines could disrupt fishing, tourism and bird migration patterns, moans Audra Parker, 43, assistant director of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound -- a group of environmentalists who one might otherwise expect to find promoting alternative energy sources.

And needless to say, anti-capitalism raises its ugly head, as well. Critics also complain that the greedy entrepreneurs of Cape Wind “would use public lands, in this case the sea floor, for free,” Bloomberg reports.

Oh, the horror. (How much is it the federal government charges the fishermen of Massachusetts for harvesting their profits from “the sea floor,” by the way?)

But fortunately, a giant among the forces that militate in favor of “alternative energy,” among those who argue we need to “reduce our nation’s dependence on oil” in order to avoid drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, etc., lives right at the scene.

How strongly has Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., spoken out in favor of this innovative alternative energy project -- just the kind of thing the Congress had in mind when it created all those porked-up alternative energy subsidies?

“In a rare political alignment, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican, has sided with U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy, a Democrat, in opposition to the project,” Bloomberg reports. “The Kennedy family’s Hyannisport compound has a view of the proposed site.”