A day after the federal government approved the Cape Wind project, state Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill stepped up his criticism of the venture, skewering it as a feel-good project that could drive up energy costs.
State Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill
“We all think of the Netherlands and we think of all these windmills,” the independent gubernatorial candidate told a downtown meeting of business executives today. “It’s really quaint. And it seems so much nicer than a big, bad energy plant or nuclear power. At the end of the day, it’s an industrial opportunity.”
In his most extensive comments about the controversial project, Cahill likened Cape Wind to another of his favorite targets, the state’s universal health care law, which he says is bankrupting Massachusetts.
“I don’t think it’s the real solution,” he said. “It will make us feel good about ourselves, just like covering every citizen in Massachusetts with health care made us feel good. On paper, and mentally, it’s the right thing to do.”
"I understand the attraction to wind because it seems so benign,” he continued. “It’s not as benign as people make it out to be.”
“It’s an industrial-sized plant in Nantucket Sound and in my mind, if it doesn’t lower the cost of electricity and energy, then I can’t support it, because, at the end of the day, it makes us less competitive,” Cahill said.
The project’s approval has been reverberating in the governor’s race, with Governor Deval Patrick strongly backing the project and Cahill and Republican gubernatorial candidate Charles D. Baker criticizing it.
Patrick has been trying to highlight his support, contending that Cape Wind will bring 1,000 construction jobs to Massachusetts and generate enough energy to power 75 percent of the Cape and islands, weaning the region from volatile global energy markets.
“In 2006, I stood as the only candidate for governor who supported this project,’’ Patrick wrote in an e-mail to his supporters Wednesday. “As governor, with the help of an effective team, I have delivered. By contrast, Charlie Baker and Tim Cahill have been silent on Cape Wind and on the jobs potential and environmental wisdom of the entire clean-tech sector.’’
Baker has criticized Cape Wind, but, like Cahill, has stopped short of declaring his outright opposition.
“I believe that renewable energy is important to our future, but at the same time the state has to be smart about how it invests in clean energy,’’ Baker said in a statement Wednesday. “We can’t support projects that are going to increase the cost of electricity to people and businesses in Massachusetts, and I have yet to see proof that Cape Wind will lower energy costs for Bay State families and businesses.’’
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