Rep. Stearns: We should probably look into this wind farm business

You may have heard about the controversial Cape Wind project, the country’s first planned offshore wind farm off of the coast of Massachusetts. There are a lot of interests involved — fishermen, environmentalists, residents, aviation, the wind lobby, etcetera — and while the project has been digging around for some federal funding for some time, they did recently get at least the full permitting go-ahead from the Obama administration.

Opponents of the project, however, claim to have evidence that the Obama administration applied undue political “pressure” to the Federal Aviation Administration to get the project green-lighted. Their complaints have garnered the notice of Rep. Cliff Stearns, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight Subcommittee of Solyndra-crackdown fame.

“The emails that came from the FAA that I have seen obviously shows the White House is pushing the FAA for political reasons,” said Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla.

Audra Parker, the president of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, an organization that’s working to prevent the wind farm’s development, said her organization has obtained documents she believes are proof the Federal Aviation Administration fast-tracked the project despite safety concerns for local aviation. …

A PowerPoint presentation given in 2010 states: “The Secretary of the Interior has approved this project. The Administration is under pressure to promote green energy production. It would be very difficult politically to refuse approval of this project.” …

“I think the Cape Wind project is something similar to Solyndra in the sense there’s a lot of pressure from the White House,” the congressman said.

I often bemoan the federal government’s green-energy agenda, not because I take any umbrage with the idea of non-conventional sources of energy, but because the federal government should not be in the business of choosing what those new forms of energy are going to be. The free market is perfectly capable of coming up with viable, affordable, efficient substitutes on its own, thank you very much (think about it — the car was initially an alternative to the horse, you know, and cars are a heck of a lot more environmentally friendly than horses).

The government is not a dispassionate bystander, but rather an entity with both political ambitions and ‘unlimited’ cash at its disposal — it’s too risky that they’ll just waste our money while aiding and abetting a form of energy that doesn’t hold real promise, or isn’t ready for mass production. Which, as we’ve seen with the Obama administration, they frequently do.

What’s worse, going full-on big-government to accomplish your political green agenda only sets up an environment for rent-seeking and crony capitalism, messing with market signals and leading to lord only knows what kinds of corruption. Given that the pro-wind movement has a notoriously powerful lobby, I wouldn’t say no to Rep. Stearns’ suggestion of a federal investigation.

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