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A blow to Cape Wind opponents

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The never-ending Cape Wind battle has been somewhat like the fight between King Arthur and the Black Knight in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” with the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound in the role of the Black Knight.

The latest hit for the pugnacious Alliance comes from the Federal Aviation Administration, which ruled for the fourth time that the proposed 440-foot turbines do not pose a danger to airplanes flying overhead. The agency had to issue the newest ruling after a federal court struck down its earlier decision because the judge did not think the FAA had fully investigated the dangers from the 130-turbine wind farm that will cover 25 square miles. In addition, a Congressional inquiry – which many Democrats say is politically driven – is looking into emails between members of the Obama administration and FAA officials to determine if there was pressure to approve the first-ever ocean wind farm.

Much like the ocean tides, the support for Cape Wind is ebbing and flowing, with one-time opponents changing their minds about the impact while former fence-straddlers are seeing the benefit of taking the side of Cape residents (read: voters) in an election year. In June, the Martha's Vineyard/Dukes County Fishermen's Association dropped its suit against Cape Wind in exchange for an undisclosed financial settlement that allowed the members to start a nonprofit that will oversee permitting around the structures for fishermen.

The issue will play out both locally and nationally in the campaigns. While Republicans are hammering President Obama over his push for green technology and point to Cape Wind as one of those pressure points, it is a clear division between Sen. Scott Brown, who has moved from being concerned to outright opposition, and Elizabeth Warren, who is a full-throated supporter of the project.

The FAA decision, if it stands, is some good news for the project as it has begun soliciting investors for the estimated $2 billion in construction costs. But don’t think you’ll see the blades spinning soon. Audra Parker, CEO of the Alliance who has yet to find a ruling against her that she doesn’t see flaws within, vows the fight is not over, and there’s no reason to disbelieve her.

“It is outrageous that this approval comes in the face of last year's court decision revoking Cape Wind's aviation safety permit, and in the midst of a Congressional investigation into the political pressure that enabled that permit to be granted originally,” Parker said in a statement. “No pilot or passenger should allow this politically-driven decision to stand. This decision can once again be appealed. With one victory behind us, there is no reason to believe we won't win again.”  


In other words, “It’s only a flesh wound.”

                                                                                                                                     --JACK SULLIVAN


BEACON HILL

The criminal trial of former state treasurer Tim Cahill has been set for October 29.

The Worcester Telegram and Gazette throws its support behind Andrea Taber, the owner of Ever So Humble Pie Company, who is refusing to allow the use of EBT cards to pay for her products.

Senate President Therese Murray hears it from Plymouth Republicans, after a Murray supporter put out signs ahead of Kingston’s approved window.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

The New Bedford City Council, whose proposed 44 percent pay increase for itself was vetoed by the mayor, will take up the issue of creating a salary for the School Committee.

The Legislature today will consider a bill to restore the Fall River fire chief position to civil service. CommonWealth took an in-depth look at the effectiveness of the Civil Service system as a guard against patronage last year.

A toxic cloud from a chemical fire heading towards the Berkshires earlier this month revealed several weaknesses in the area’s reverse-911 system, the Berkshire Eagle reports.

A “pissed” Springfield mayor told reporters that the community needs to step up and “not tolerate this (expletive)” following a recent spike in gun violence.

CASINOS

The Plainridge Racecourse, the only facility so far to put a deposit down to bid for a slots parlor license, is sinking $21.6 million into building a new parking garage.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

A guard is shot outside the offices of the Family Research Council in Washington.

IMMIGRATION

People flock to a Chelsea office to take advantage of the first day in which young immigrants who are here illegally can take advantage of a presidential executive order allowing them to receive work permits and a temporary reprieve from deportation.

ELECTION 2012

The Globe’s Brian Mooney reports that a big Obama campaign effort to boost voter registration among likely supporters of the president in battleground states in not panning out, though some voting experts say the finding is less alarming than it may appear to be. The New York Times sees both campaigns trying to gin up their bases, rather than win over the middle.

In offering his organization’s endorsement to Sen. Scott Brown, the political director of the US Chamber Commerce calls Elizabeth Warren the greatest “threat to free enterprise” of any candidate for office in the country.

The Tierney and Tisei campaigns squabble over whether or not Republican Richard Tisei was supposed to speak at a Tea Party event last night.

WBUR lays out the Senate candidates’ foreign policy positions, and finds that both Brown and Warren are centrists.

Keller@Large says Medicare is becoming a political weapon. Um, hello? And here’s some sourcing: The Wall Street Journal digs into how the GOP plans to defend itself against Democratic attacks on the issue, Karl Rove sees Medicare as a winning Republican issue, while Gail Collins argues that the wrangling is less about Medicare than about slashing Medicaid benefits for the poor.

Sen. John Kerry has let his campaign account dwindle to $1.5 million. The Herald gleefully notes that executives from Bain Capital have handed piles of money to the senator.

FISHING

The state’s two senators and three of its congressmen are pushing President Obama, who has been campaigning on his support for agriculture aid in the current drought, to deliver some relief to the region’s embattled fishing industry.

HEALTH CARE

Earnings for Massachusetts health insurers, who are under pressure to keep premium increases down, were down sharply for the second quarter of the year compared with the same period in 2011, the Globe reports.

The pay for area hospital executives, meanwhile, is not hurting at all.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

A single Supreme Judicial Court justice rejected a suit by Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey to halt a pilot program that live-streams trials and proceedings at Quincy District Court.

Twelve towns are receiving grants to expand enforcement of DUI laws, the MetroWest Daily News reports.

MEDIA

The Nieman Lab reports on efforts to keep Homicide Watch DC alive while its founders take a hiatus to study crime reporting at the Nieman Foundation.

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