Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Don't Back Down to Cape Cod Anti-Wind Bullies

Falmouth wind turbineLongtime Cape Wind opponent Peter Kenney has an op-ed in today's New Bedford Standard Times attacking me personally. It's part of a broader strategy by wind opponents to bully clean energy supporters into silence. Will Massachusetts leaders stand up for reasoned debate, or give into scare tactics?

What was my crime in Kenney's eyes? Daring to point out that Bill Koch, a billionaire Cape Cod estate owner and heir to a polluting energy fortune, is blocking New Bedford clean energy jobs by bankrolling Cape Wind opposition.

I'm only the latest person Kenney has targeted for personal attacks. "Mr. Kenney has a history of not being able to disagree respectfully," Yarmouth Planning Board Chairman Erik Tolley said last year.

What's bizarre is that in Kenney's op-ed, he claims I refused to take his call. I talked to him on April 23 for two minutes. Here's my annotation of the phone record:

It was a short call. He immediately launched into berating me for supporting Cape Wind and accused me of taking bribes not to say anything bad about Cape Wind. I asked why he was calling since it didn't exactly sound like there was much room to win him over. We said goodbye. That was it.

It's not just Kenney - across Cape Cod in Falmouth, wind opponents are using similar bullying tactics. "As town meeting members spoke, turbine abutters Neil Andersen and Colin Murphy sat in the back of the auditorium, quietly heckling speakers at times," Sean Teehan reported in the Cape Cod Times last month.

Falmouth has already voted against dismantling its turbines, but the anti-wind crowd has forced yet another vote on May 24. With Fox on their side, you have to wonder: Will the anti-wind folks will just keep forcing votes until they get their way?

More broadly, Massachusetts elected officials and news organizations need to decide how we'll determine our shared energy future. Will we have a reasoned, fact-based dialogue and move forward together? Or will we let the loudest, harshest and most frequently raised voices dominate debate and shout down anyone who disagrees with them?

If you stand with clean energy, sign up and register your support at Cape Wind Now.
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