continue on with the project. This obstruction is killing jobs and threatening both our economic recovery and our prosperity. While coal projects are a primary target to obstruct, it may surprise readers to learn that renewable energy projects are the market leaders for this type of obstruction. One environmental group even runs an online database that brags about the coal projects it is killing. A classic example is the Baard Energy coal-to-liquids plant in Wellsville, Ohio. The potential economic impact for this community is huge. The project is worth about $6 billion and is estimated
to create 2,500 jobs during the peak construction period. Once operational, the plant would provide 200 full-time jobs and about 750 coal-mining jobs. Several environmental groups have filed lawsuits challenging the permits. In March 2009, it was reported that Baard Energy was abandoning its effort to secure a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantee for the proposed plant, saying that legal challenges against the project’s environmental permits would delay financing for years. Baard Energy said it was warned by DOE that lawsuits against projects seeking
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loan guarantees will be part of the “risk evaluation” and could affect financing costs and timeliness, meaning pending lawsuits would have to be settled before the company could obtain loan guarantee funds. Fortunately, Baard Energy is still planning to proceed with the project despite abandoning plans to use the DOE loan guarantee program and has expressed confidence about finding private financing. The Cape Wind offshore wind project is the nation’s most infamous example of the horrors of environmental permitting challenges and NIMBY opposition. It is a $1-$2 billion project that would have a significant economic impact in the Cape Cod community and create over 1,000 new jobs. At peak generation, Cape Wind will generate 420 megawatts of renewable electricity, which is enough to meet the electricity needs of 420,000 homes. However, its promise to create clean renewable energy and jobs hangs in the balance. Since filing for its first permit in 2001, the Cape Wind project has been forced to navigate through a gauntlet of permit-related hurdles and activist opposition. Over the last eight years, opponents of the Cape Wind project have sued over allegations that the turbines would pose navigational and radar hazards, as well as a threat to birds. Others have argued that the unsightliness of the turbines will hurt their views. It is reported that the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, a local opposition group, has poured more than $20 million into fighting Cape Wind tooth and nail. Notwithstanding the fact that polling shows there is a majority of support in Massachusetts, the Alliance coupled with some elected allies have managed to significantly slow down the project over the years. The most recent challenge was lodged by local Indian tribes, who argue that the project would interfere with sacred rituals which require an unblocked view of the horizon and would be built on a long-submerged ancestral burial ground, warranting the designation of the entire Nantucket Sound as a “traditional cultural property” for listing on the National Register. Such a designation would not only make the Sound off limits to any offshore development, but would also stifle all kinds of commercial activity in the area. Moreover, the success of the tribe would set bad precedent and place another tool in the NIMBY arsenal for killing projects. american coal council