Cape Wind Associates’ plan to build a big wind-power farm off the coast of Cape Cod has been dividing enviros for years, but the disagreement got a lot more heated last month when Robert F. Kennedy Jr. ran a high-profile op-ed railing against the project in The New York Times.

An excerpt:

These turbines are less than six miles from shore and would be seen from Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Hundreds of flashing lights to warn airplanes away from the turbines will steal the stars and nighttime views. The noise of the turbines will be audible onshore. A transformer substation rising 100 feet above the sound would house giant helicopter pads and 40,000 gallons of potentially hazardous oil. According to the Massachusetts Historical Commission, the project will damage the views from 16 historic sites and lighthouses on the cape and nearby islands. The Humane Society estimates the whirling turbines could every year kill thousands of migrating songbirds and sea ducks.

That didn’t sit so well with many enviros who see climate change as the big environmental issue and therefore think renewable-energy projects should be welcomed in all our backyards. More than 150 green leaders and activists this week sent a letter to Kennedy asking him to reconsider. Word is Kennedy said he’ll meet with them to discuss. We’ll keep you posted.

Meantime, here’s the letter:January 3, 2006

Mr. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Chief Prosecuting Attorney
Riverkeeper
828 South Broadway
Tarrytown, NY 10591

Dear Mr. Kennedy,

As advocates for a clean-energy future, we admire your forceful advocacy for action on global warming. We are now writing to respectfully request that you reconsider your position against the vitally important Cape Wind project.

Cape Wind would provide roughly 75 percent of the electricity for Cape Cod. It is crucial to establishing America’s economic and environmental leadership on global warming. Cape Wind would prove the viability of wind as a good source of energy to American investors, politicians and the public, and will address issues of poverty and social justice in greater Boston. The management of Cape Wind plans to use local port facilities with available capacity, as a manufacturing center for wind farms up and down the East Coast. That manufacturing facility would create hundreds of jobs for under or unemployed residents of the area.

Like the tens-of-thousands of other Americans in the growing movement to stop global warming, you know that addressing this crisis will require a dramatic transformation of America’s energy economy. Doing so will require more than simply buying hybrid cars and installing fluorescent light bulbs. It will require the development of a large-scale, alternative energy infrastructure capable of meeting the nation’s energy needs.

According to both the U.S. Department of Energy and a Massachusetts state energy agency, wind power could provide all the electricity used in the United States today. By contrast, the continuing use of coal-generated electricity (since coal is the most carbon-intensive of fuels) will hasten the day when large parts of Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and the outer Cape are submerged by rising sea levels.

Nothing threatens the Earth’s most special places more than global warming. The changes being wrought by our warming of the atmosphere are melting the Arctic tundra, overheating the Amazon rainforest, and heating the oceans. We are, simply put, in a state of ecological emergency. Constructing windmills six miles from Cape Cod, where they will be visible as half-inch dots on the horizon is the least that we can do.

A diverse coalition of Americans, including forward-thinking CEOs, evangelical leaders, and college students, is building a hopeful future of clean-energy sources, cutting-edge technologies, and rewarding and high-paying jobs. The installation of the Cape Wind farm will be an important turning-point for this new grassroots movement.

We urge you to reconsider your opposition to Cape Wind, and to support the truly hopeful movement it represents.

Signed,

Meg Boyle
Executive Director, The Climate Campaign

Gary Braasch
Environmental Photographer, worldviewofglobalwarming.org

Michael Brune
Executive Director, Rainforest Action Network

Anthony D. Cortese, Sc.D.
President, Second Nature

Dr. Robert Costanza
Gordon Gund Professor of Ecological Economics and Director, Gund Institute of Ecological Economics, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, The University of Vermont

Jared Duval
National Director, Sierra Student Coalition

Ross Gelbspan
Author of The Heat is On and Boiling Point

Ted Glick
Project Coordinator, Climate Crisis Coalition

Eban Goodstein
Executive Director, The Green House Network

Jonathan Isham, Ph.D.
Department of Economics and Program in Environmental Studies, Middlebury College

Russell Long, Ph.D.
Founder, Bluewater Network, and Vice President, Friends of the Earth US

Father Paul Mayer,
Co-founder, The Climate Crisis Coalition

Bill McKibben
Author of The End of Nature

David Merrill
Executive Director, GlobalWarmingSolution.org

Aditya Nochur
MA State Coordinator, Climate Campaign, Tufts University

Ted Nordhaus
The Breakthrough Institute

Alfred Padula
Chair, Green Campus Consortium of Maine

Billy Parish
Coordinator, Energy Action

John Passacantando
Executive Director, Greenpeace USA

Michael Shellenberger
The Breakthrough Institute

Tom Stokes
Co-founder, The Climate Crisis Coalition

Mike Tidwell
Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network

Anne Adler
Greenwich, CT

Ben Adler
Greenwich, CT

Richard Adler
Greenwich, CT

Robert Adler
Middlebury, VT, Sunday Night Group, Middlebury College

Corinne Almquist
Randolph, NJ, Energy Action/Middlebury College

Caroline Ballou
Burlington, VT, Students for Peace and Global Justice, University of Vermont

M. Robin Barone, Esq.
Newbury, VT

Aaron Barr
Blacksburg, VA, GE Wind Energy and Virginia Tech grad

Will Bates
Greenwich, CT, Middlebury College

Carly Berger
Princeton, NJ, Middlebury College

Christina Billingsley
Dallas, TX, University of Washington Sierra Student Coalition

Jean E. Thomson Black
Darien, CT

G. May Boeve
Sonoma, CA, The Climate Campaign/Middlebury College

Tom Brennan
Yardley, PA, Princeton Environmental Action

David Carlson
Middlebury, VT, People for Less Pollution

Bill Chaloupka, Ph.D.
Fort Collins, CO, Colorado State University,

Mary Jane Clay
Lake Bluff, IL

Ainsley Close
Mercer Island, WA, Sunday Night Group, Middlebury College

Frank Conrad
Rutland, Vermont, Principal, Business Strategy Advisors of Vermont

Sarah Coppinger
Philadelphia, PA, University of Vermont

Lindsey Corbin
Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, MA

Laurie Cox
Ripton, VT

Spencer Lafayette Cox
Marina del Rey, CA, Middlebury College

Liz Cunningham
Burlington, VT, Vermont Campus Energy Group

Lindsay Dahl
St. Paul, MN

Jessica DeBiasio
St. Petersburg, FL, University of Vermont

Lori Del Negro, Ph.D.
Lake Forest, IL, Lake Forest College

Shannon Donegan
Seattle, WA, Co-Commodore of the Middlebury College Sailing Club who knows from experience how great the Cape winds are after starting her sailing career there

Michael K. Dorsey, Ph.D.
Dartmouth College, Environmental Studies Program

Jesse Feinberg
Newton, MA, Co-coordinator Big Red Go Green, Madison, WI

Jay Fitzgerald
Brunswick, ME, Middlebury College

Lindsey Franklin
Concord, MA, Sunday Night Group, Middlebury College

Amelia Gerlin
Shelburne, VT

Sara Granstrom
New Haven, VT, Sunday Night Group, Middlebury College

Samantha Green
Hamilton, ON, Canada, Sierra Youth Coalition

Dudley Greeley
Cumberland, ME, Sustainability Coordinator, University of Southern Maine

Catherine Gruber
Bryn Mawr, PA, University of Vermont

Elizabeth Guenard
Lunenburg, MA, University of Vermont

Carol Guest
Norwich, VT, Middlebury College

Ashley Hall
Burlington, VT, Vermont Student Environmental Program

Gordon Hamilton, PhD
Orono, ME, Climate Change Institute, University of Maine

Liz Hartman
Albany, NY, State University of New York at Albany and Kyoto Now!

Dr. Steve Hegedus
Newark, DE, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Studies

Bonnie Hemphill
Cary, NC, Sunday Night Group, Middlebury College

Jamie Henn
Cambridge, MA, Energy Action

Melissa Henry
San Pedro, CA, Environmental Consciousness Outreach of Tufts
University

Timothy Den Herder-Thomas
Jersey City, NJ, Macalester Conservation and Renewable Energy Society (MacCARES)

Tracy Himmel Isham
Cornwall, VT, Middlebury College

Connie Hogarth
The Climate Crisis Coalition

Katelyn Homeyer
Burlington, VT, University of Vermont

Anne Hoover
Middlebury, VT, People for Less Pollution

Emily Irwin
New Canaan, CT, Middlebury College

Jon Isham, Sr.
Middlebury, VT

Libby Isham
Middlebury, VT

Andrew Jacobi
New York, NY

AugustusJordan
Middlebury, VT, Middlebury College

Daniel Kane
Middlebury, VT, Middlebury College

Chris McGrory Klyza, Ph.D.
Bristol, VT, Middlebury College

Linda J. Knutson
Middlebury, VT, Middlebury College

Charles Komanoff
Economist and Environmental Activist

Rachel Korschun
Atlanta, GA, Middlebury College

Emma Kosciak
Groton, MA, Saint Michael’s College/Climate Campaign

Joseph Laur
Wendell, MA, Society for Organizational Learning Sustainability Consortium

Retta Leaphart
Helena, MT, Middlebury College

David Leighton
Ellington, CT, University of Connecticut

Austen Levihn-Coon
Austin, TX, Energy Action

Caitlin Littlefield
Andover, MA, Middlebury College

Steven Maier
State Representative, Vermont General Assembly

Trista McGetrick
Louisville, KY, Sunday Night Group, Middlebury College

Julia McKinnon
Kalispell, MT, Middlebury College

Tylor Middlestadt
San Luis Obispo, CA, President, Associated Students, Inc.

Kathleen Mikulski
Brookline, MA, SustainUS.org

Wendy Morgan
Peacham, VT

Katharine Mountcastle
New Canaan, CT, Trustee, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation

Kenneth Mountcastle
New Canaan, CT

Noah Munro
Boston, MA, Energy Action

Suvi Neukam
Amherst, NH, Middlebury College

Johanna Nichols
Cornwall, VT, from my faith as a Unitarian Universalist

Rachel Norton
Denver, CO, Sunday Night Group, Middlebury College

Michael Olinick
Middlebury, VT

Judith Olinick
Middlebury, VT

Susan Olshuff
Lenox, MA

Clare O’Reilly
Briarcliff, NY, Student Conservation Association

Jeremy Osborn
Simsbury, CT, Energy Action

Ellen Oxfeld
Middlebury, VT (summer Cape Cod vacationer too)

Spencer Paddock
Missoula, MT

Greg Pahl
Weybridge, Vt., Author

Esther Palmer
Columbus, OH

Michael Palmer, J.D., Ph.D.
Cornwall, VT, Strategies for Good Outcomes

Michael Philbin
Bolton, MA, Middlebury College

Emily Picciotto
Middlebury College

Elizabeth Quinn
East Hampton, NY, Sunday Night Group, Middlebury College

Barry Rabe, Ph.D.
Ann Arbor, MI, University of Michigan.

Carrie Reed, Ph.D.
Middlebury, VT, Middlebury College

Ron Rink
Springboro, Ohio

Micah J. Rose
Seattle, WA, Sierra Student Coalition UW

Mike Rosen
Seattle, WA

Jean Rosenberg
Middlebury, VT

Peter Rosenau Viola
Bryn Mawr, PA, Middlebury College

Rebecca Ryals
Brodheadsville, PA, Duke University, Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences

Hazel Ryerson
Cambridge, MA, University of Vermont

Carlos Rymer
Ithaca, NY, Cornell University

Jason Schaefer
Dakota Resource Council/Energy Action

Rev. Diana F. Scholl
Middlebury, VT

Amy Seif
Portsmouth, NH

Mark Stout
Fresno, CA, Renewable Energy/Air Quality Consultant

Andrea Suozzo
New York, NY, Sunday Night Group, Middlebury College

Patrick Swan
Horseheads, NY, Middlebury College

Peter Teague
New York, NY

Kim Teplitzky
Fairfax, VA, Temple University/Sierra Student Coalition

Richard Valentinetti
Moretown, VT

Erin Vaughan
Albany, NY, University of Vermont, Vermont Student Environmental Program (VSTEP)

Liz Veazey
Morganton, NC, Energy Action

John Wade
Jackson, MS

Jon Warnow
Middlebury, VT

Spencer Weart
Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, American Institute of Physics

Caroline Webster
Belmont, MA, concerned citizen

Michael Werner
Easton, PA, Lafayette Environmental Awareness and Protection

Julia West
Ipswich, MA, Middlebury College

Juliana Williams
Bellevue, WA, Sierra Student Coalition, Whitman College

Nora Williams
Minneapolis, MN, Middlebury College

Matt Wormser
Shelburne, VT

Dave Wright
Sturbridge, MA, Middlebury