Wind-fall rejected by Tribes

Sources told the Herald that Gordon, through a middleman, offered to pay the two tribes a total of $50,000 a year for 20 years if they would support the project.

Cape Wind spokesman Mark Rodgers said the offer represented “financial mitigation.”

Cedric Cromwell, chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoags, which is one of the two tribes involved, said the offer was rejected “out of hand.”

“This issue has never been about money for us,” Cromwell said.

For nine years, Gordon has fought for approval of his estimated $2.6 billion, 130-turbine project, proposed for a 25-mile stretch of federal waters, located between Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

Supporters say the project, which would be the nation’s first offshore wind power generator, will serve as an important symbol of the switch to clean energy.

Critics contend that the private, for-profit project will wreak havoc on the environment, disrupting fishing, transportation and tourism.

The Aquinnah and Mashpee Wampanoag tribes say the project will interfere with the long-held religious practice of greeting the morning sun, and could harm ancient tribal burial grounds. Horseshoe Shoals, where the project would go, was dry land thousands of years ago.

The battle could end soon because U.S. Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar has said that if the warring factions can’t reach a compromise by Monday, he’ll decide the project’s fate by April 1.

Cape Wind developers recently hired Cape Cod law firm Wynn & Wynn to lobby for the project. Attorney Jeffrey Madison, a member of the Aquinnah Wampanoags, wrote a letter to Salazar calling claims that Nantucket Sound is culturally significant “a fabrication invented by a small number of tribal members who happen to be involved in tribal government and who happen to be opponents of Cape Wind.”

Sources told the Herald that Madison was the middleman who took Gordon’s monetary offer to both tribes. Both reportedly rejected the cash.

Yesterday, Madison did not respond to a request for comment.


Source: bostonherald, February 27, 2010;