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Abstract

In 2001, Cape Wind Associates announced its proposal to construct America’s first offshore wind farm in the federal waters of Nantucket Sound. This declaration touched off a storm of law suits, fund raising, and protests in the press that still rages to this day. Political pundits and environmental groups of every stripe have taken some surprising positions, based solely on the location of the renewable energy source. The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, posing as an environmental concern, has risen as the archrival to the wind farm. Interestingly, a closer look under the surface of this group reveals a financial juggernaut of fossil fuel funding, and instead of trying to preserve Nantucket Sound, the real issue that arises is classic NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard).

A timeline, starting from the announcement in 2001 and spanning to the selection of construction contractors in 2012, summarizes the astounding scope of litigation, politics and electrical utility contracts. Together with analysis of the major cases intended to block Cape Wind, is a look at the history of the Environmental Justice (EJ) movement. With the late entrance of Native American Tribes into the fray, the significance of EJ in current state and federal policy is now being used in reverse as a weapon to strike against Cape Wind, for the benefit of Cape Cod’s well-heeled residents.

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