Oil of no concern


To the Editor:

This is a response to a Letter to the Editor by Paul Adler (Sept. 18, “Cape Wind poses a threat”).

In his letter, Mr. Adler expresses concern about the 68,000 gallons of oil that will be contained in the windmills and electrical transformers that are part of the Cape Wind project.

While this may seem like a lot of oil, it is dwarfed by the oil that is carried in barges every day to supply the Sagamore electrical plant. The barge that ran aground in 2003 in Buzzards Bay was carrying 850,000 gallons of No. 6 fuel oil destined for the electrical plant in Sagamore, of which 120,000 gallons spilled into the bay.

In fact, more than 1.5 billion gallons of various grades of fuel oil pass through Buzzards Bay every year.

Let me point out that the oil used on the Cape Wind project is contained in the transformers and gearboxes. Unlike the oil that feeds the Sagamore plant, it is lightweight and evaporates quickly. If the worst-case scenario happened and all the windmills blew over, the oil would not escape from its containment vessels. Any oil that could possibly leak would quickly be dispersed by the wind and the sea, given the hurricane conditions. None of it would wind up on a bird or fouling beaches.

If you are concerned about oil spills in the waters surrounding the Vineyard, you should be all for the Cape Wind project, and conservation efforts so we can close the Sagamore plant and not run the continuing risk of oil spills from barges that supply it. It was built in 1968, is obsolete and inefficient, and is a significant source of air pollution on the Cape as well as a problem for marine life due to its need to discharge warm water into the bay.

I appreciate the concerns people have about the Cape Wind project. There are many potential issues that have been studied and studied again. The environmental impact statements are in.

Because of the fierce opposition from NIMBY groups as well as environmental groups, the statements are as thorough as studies could be. Everything has been discussed, debated, studied, and studied again.

I ask anyone who cares about this at all to read the final environmental impact studies from the various agencies involved. At least read the summaries.

We sat in traffic at a four-way stop sign for eight years while the overwhelming statistical realities were denied by concerned people who were not willing to accept the information, conclusions, and decisions of the people and the agencies that we entrusted to figure it all out for us.

Let’s not repeat that mistake while dithering about climate change at the cost of a livable planet.

Don Keller

Vineyard Haven