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The issue: Environment
(By Beth Daley, Globe Staff, 8/20/06)
With electricity prices close to the highest in the nation, Massachusetts is no friend to the energy consumer. It lies at the end of the energy pipeline, getting its oil by ship and natural gas from far away fields.
Healey would veto the Cape Wind project if she had the authority, according to campaign manager Tim O'Brien. "The lieutenant governor has been opposed to Cape Wind from day one. The lieutenant governor believes it's the wrong project in the wrong place, and it should not happen in its current form. And as governor, she would block any attempts to harm the natural beauty of Nantucket Sound and potentially harm the tourism in that area," O'Brien said.
Healey has said she backs Gov. Mitt Romney's decision to pull out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, an agreement to reduce power plant emissions. Like Romney, she says the initiative should include a strict limit on how much power plants would have to pay for the right to emit pollution. The cap would protect businesses and consumers from increases in energy costs.
Mihos is a cochairman of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, the group formed to oppose the proposed wind farm off Cape Cod. He said he would veto the project. "Although I support alternative energy in whatever form it comes in, this particular piece of special interest legislation will give up 24 square miles of the people's ocean to a private developer to put an industrial plant in the most pristine part of Cape Cod and give that particular developer tens of millions of dollars each and every year to develop a private business," he said.
Patrick is the only gubernatorial candidate who firmly supports the Cape Wind wind turbine project. "I will support renewable energy projects whenever the benefits for all of us outweigh the disadvantages. I believe the Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound is just such a project," he said.
"We are often asked to choose between economic development and environmental stewardship. From my experience in the energy industry, I am convinced that this is a false choice. In Massachusetts, I believe we can and must have both."
Patrick has said that unlike Gov. Mitt Romney he favors joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, an agreement to reduce power plant emissions.
Patrick's campaign has released an environmental white paper that includes, among a long list of items, a proposal that the state develop incentives to conserve energy, both to reduce pollution and to reduce our dependence on foreign sources. "I see excise and sales tax credits for energy-efficient vehicles, appliances, and construction," he wrote.
Grace Ross (Green-Rainbow Party)
The Green Party has pushed for progressive and effective environmental policy nationally for over thirty years. During an Earth Day event in April, Ross said, ''The issue of the environment has evolved significantly from reduce, reuse, recycle... now with the science of global warming clearly established, we're talking about policies that could make or break the life of the planet.''
To combat global warming, Ross says we need to "restructure our energy production and radically reconfigure our environmental impact. Urban planners must replace sprawl development models with regionally integrated and cluster models, which lower the cost of home ownership, protect open space and wetlands, decrease the cost of public transportation and improve the quality of life." Ross says she would work to develop decentralized, locally controlled renewable energy sources.
Regarding the Cape Wind project, Ross said, ''Supporting a project like Cape Wind is good rhetoric, but tree-planting is another direct way for individuals to make a change, as trees process carbon-dioxide to make oxygen. With such rapid global deforestation, it's essential that we begin to replant trees to stem the acceleration of global warming.'' renewable and clean energy works best when there is local control.''
Using energy-efficient light bulbs as an example, Ross said, ''People need to realize that basic changes like these cascade by resolving other related issues... Modernizing our energy use makes ecological and economical sense, as the savings to the planet and to the consumer's utility bill are nothing but welcome!''
* Compiled by Boston.com Staff from published reports in the Boston Globe, the candidates' campaigns, and other sources.