Cape Wind is skunk at offshore wind party

Cape Wind, once the darling of the environmental movement, is officially persona non grata on Beacon Hill.

House leaders on Monday unveiled their long-awaited energy bill, and crafted it in such a way that Cape Wind would be unable to compete for offshore wind contracts. Only companies that have secured competitively bid leases on the outer continental shelf are eligible to bid.

You could see this coming. Rep. Patricia Haddad of Somerset has repeatedly tried to distance her vision of a home-grown offshore wind industry from Cape Wind and all the opposition (and lawsuits) it engendered from wealthy landowners who didn’t want the turbines spoiling their views.

“This is way offshore wind,” she told CommonWealth when she filed her legislation back in January 2015. “No one is upset about this. The offshore wind industry I’m talking about is not visible from onshore. It’s over the horizon.”

Paul Vigeant, director of the New Bedford Wind Energy Center, holds the same view. In a recent column, he said the wind farms being pushed by House officials “are in no way related to the moribund Cape Wind project, and none will be built in Nantucket Sound.”

Gov. Charlie Baker has a complicated history with Cape Wind. He railed against the project as a “sweetheart deal” between the Patrick administration and a lone offshore wind developer when he ran for governor in 2010. Now that Cape Wind is merely asking for a chance to bid on a contract, it’s unclear where Baker’s pro-competition philosophy will take him. He declined comment on Monday, saying he hadn’t read the House bill yet; his administration, however, recently rejected a bid by Cape Wind for a permit extension on a planned power line between the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm and Barnstable.

The three companies that would be allowed to bid on the offshore wind contracts under the House legislation confidently say they are not afraid of competition. One official with close ties to all three companies says Cape Wind, bound by the federal permits it has already won, would not be able to submit a competitive bid because the project would be using technology that is more than a decade old.

Yet Jim Gordon, the businessman trying to keep Cape Wind alive, doesn’t seem worried. “If they’re right, then they’ll win the bid,” Gordon said. “If we’re right, then we’ll win the bid. All we want to do is fairly compete on a level playing field.”

–BRUCE MOHL

 

BEACON HILL

A House committee released a long-awaited energy bill that directs the state’s utilities to negotiate large, long-term contracts for offshore wind power and hydroelectricity. (CommonWealth)

House and Senate negotiators reach an accord on a public records bill that stirs concerns among municipal officials. (State House News)

A panel charged with making recommendations for improving the state sex offender registry did not offer a single specific recommendation in its 118-page report, largely because members could not agree on “the reliability of predicting 
how likely a sex offender is to 
re-offend,” reports the Herald.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Lowell lags other communities in collecting payments in-lieu-of-taxes from nonprofits. (The Sun)

CommonWealth’s Jack Sullivan and former federal judge Nancy Gertner weigh in on the troubles surrounding Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. (Greater Boston)

Boston is rolling out a $7.5 million program that will offer loans of $75,000 per unit to help small landlords and nonprofits acquire property if they agree to keep 40 percent of the units affordable to low- and moderate-income tenants. (Boston Globe)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Maura Healey is leading an effort by 13 state attorneys general that is calling on Congress to scrap a two-decade-old amendment that has had a chilling effect on research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that treats gun violence as a public health problem. (Boston Globe)

Though the White House remains mum, a Coast Guard official confirmed President Obama and his family will once again vacation on Martha’s Vineyard this summer, perhaps for as long as three weeks. (Cape Cod Times)

ELECTIONS

Bernie Sanders’s endorsement of a Florida law professor waging a primary challenge to six-term Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whom Sanders says he would oust as chair of the Democratic National Committee, has triggered a windfall in donations to the first-time congressional candidate. (U.S. News & World Report)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

One of the owner’s of the daily fish auction who has been a fixture on New Bedford’s waterfront for decades says there will be periodic shutdowns over the next few months because drastically reduced catch quotas keep boats tied up after reaching their limits. (Standard-Times)

An Alaska man whose questionable actions as a trustee for a charitable foundation were described in a 2003 Globe Spotlight report has been convicted of numerous counts of fraud and money laundering and sentenced to 13 years in prison. (Boston Globe)

EDUCATION

The Boston Herald reports that it has learned that Lynne Mooney Teta, head master at Boston Latin School, was suspended for two days last month because of her handling of race issues at the school.  

A group of activists pushing for free tuition for all Harvard undergraduates failed to win any seats on the school’s policy-making Board of Overseers, but claimed victory for bringing attention to the issue. (New York Times)

Ariel Maloney, an English teacher at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, says cultural competency matters for teachers. (CommonWealth)

The Westport School Committee voted to close its schools to out-of-town students, including informing several homeless students they’ll have to transfer out, though children of teachers who don’t live in town can continue to attend. (Herald News)

Brockton High School’s baseball coach has been suspended after a group of parents complained about his tough coaching style. (The Enterprise)

The Herald has sit-down with Babson College president — and former Bay State lieutenant governor — Kerry Healey.

TRANSPORTATION

The MBTA’s general manager, Frank DePaola, is stepping down to focus on his cancer treatment. (State House News)

Jesse Mermell and Josh Ostroff say it’s time for a broader vision at the MBTA. (CommonWealth)

The Globe looks at the T’s history with the design-build process it plans to use in rebooting the Green Line Extension project. CommonWealth examined the contracting method that is supposed to cap costs earlier this month.

The T’s new commuter rail schedule on 9 of its 12 lines gets mixed reviews. (Boston Globe)

The top security official at the Transportation Security Administration was ousted amid growing complaints about long lines and inspection lapses at the nation’s airports. (New York Times)

Though AAA says gas prices continue to rise, the auto club expects a heavy travel weekend for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday. (State House News Service)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Pilgrim nuclear power plant continued to exhibit failures in the second of three special inspections by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that  were mandated when the Plymouth facility was termed one of the three worst-performing reactors in the country. (Cape Cod Times)

Kinder Morgan officially withdraw its application for the Northeast Energy Direct natural gas pipeline, which would have run from Wright, New York, to Dracut. (The Sun)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Jorge Zambrano, the man alleged to be responsible for gunning down an Auburn police officer early Sunday, had a long criminal record. That record included six arrests alone since he was released in 2013 from a prison sentence, including for a January assault on a Worcester police officer. (Boston Globe) The Telegram & Gazette counts 84 court cases in which Zambrano was involved. A Herald editorial says the his long record  looks like a case study of the criminal justice system giving too many breaks to a dangerous offender. An Auburn couple tried to comfort police officer Ronald Tarentino Jr. as he lay dying. (Masslive) Telegram & Gazette columnist Dianne Williamson reports on a gas station clerk who had become close friends with Tarentino.

A judge acquitted a Baltimore police officer in the death of Freddie Gray, saying the policeman was a bit player in the incident that triggered widespread rioting in the city last year. (New York Times)

There is no reliable test to measure drivers for impairment due to marijuana, reports the Globe. CommonWealth reported earlier this month on this conundrum facing law enforcement.

MEDIA

A union analysis finds a gender pay gap at the Washington Post. (The Cut)

A Los Angeles billionaire wants to bring “machine vision” to Tribune Publishing. (Bloomberg Technology) The Los Angeles Times profiles Patrick Soon-Shiong.