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Tribals and wealthy residents against Cape Wind Farm, Massachusetts, USA

A wind farm in Nantucket Sound is delayed for years because of opposition by the wealthy and by the Wampanoag tribe in alliance with birders, boaters, fishermen and beachcombers, arguing that turbines would disturb biological and cultural heritage.


 Since 2001 the Cape Wind Project was proposed by a private developer (Cape Wind Associates) with strong support from the Massachusetts government. The project is the first planned offshore wind farm in the US, encompassing 130 Siemens turbines (3.6 MW each) covering 24 square miles in the waters of Nantucket Sound.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Tribals and wealthy residents against Cape Wind Farm, Massachusetts, USA
Country:United States of America
State or province:Massachusetts
Location of conflict:Barnstable County
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Large-scale wind energy plants
Specific commodities:Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project details

130 Siemens turbines (3.6 MW each) covering 24 square miles in the waters of Nantucket Sound.

Project area:6,216
Type of populationSemi-urban
Start of the conflict:01/01/2001
Company names or state enterprises:Cape Wind Associates from United States of America - Developer
Relevant government actors:Massachusetts Government
Secretary of the Interior
Congress and Presidency
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Alliance to Protect the Nantucket Sound
Barnstable Land Trust
Humane Society of the United States
International Marine Mammal Project
Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA)
Oceans Public Trust Initiative of Earth Island Institute,
Orenda Wildlife Trust,
Pegasus Foundation
Three Bays Preservation
Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Neighbours/citizens/communities
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Recreational users
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Other Environmental impactsEffects on bird life
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Institutional changes
Under negotiation
Project temporarily suspended
Proposal and development of alternatives:Energy efficeny
Nature conservation
Culture conservation
Alternative technologies
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:There are many interests at stake.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Mary Jo Larson, CAPE WIND: Offshore Renewable Energy Conflict, Book Chapter in: Conflict Resolution in Water Resources and Environmental Management, Springer, pp 227-241, 2015
[click to view]

Native American Legal Update
[click to view]

The Boston Globe-Editorial Opinion on the Cape Wind Project
[click to view]

Cape Wind Project
[click to view]

The New York Times: "For Cape Cod Wind Farm, New Hurdle Is Spiritual", By ABBY GOODNOUGHJAN. 4, 2010
[click to view]

Save our Sound Website
[click to view]

Meta information
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:2525
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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