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Taking another look at using wind power

It has not been so long ago that liberal politicians and billionaires were screeching about the dangers of extraction industries and the benefits of renewable energy sources, while at the same time refusing to allow a major wind farm off the coast of their Massachusetts estates because they were worried it would ruin the view. When Cape Wind failed, it was because the same people who were trying to kill the coal industry were also unwilling to put in place a renewable energy project that might have made up some of the difference.

Now, President Joe Biden is taking another look at offshore wind energy, and regulators have another chance off the coast of Massachusetts with Vineyard Wind. That project is expected to create 800 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 400,000 homes in New England.

It would be the first utility-scale wind power development in federal waters. But its developers must also worry about the safety of birds, sea life and those operating boats in the area. There are dangers to the environment and human health with offshore wind farms, too.

Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said “Responsible development of wind off our coast (will) energize the economy, provide affordable electricity and move us further into a climate-safe future.”

Perhaps. But regulators and federal officials need to take an honest look at the consequences of building Vineyard Wind. This time, it’s not about the view. It’s about making sure the project does more good than harm, and takes into account those who depend on being able to safely work in the waters off Massachusetts.

Regulators must apply the same safety and environmental standards to this project as they would to a new extraction industry project. If they can find the right balance, more power to them.

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