Jan
22
2009

Navajo tribe tells Kennedy to go to the Devil, or Nantucket.

Well, they were more polite about it than the title suggests, but the sentiment is real:

Joseph P. Kennedy II, whose father Robert F. Kennedy championed Native American rights, is at war with a band of Navajo Indians.

The Cameron Chapter of Navajo Nation is charging that Kennedy, president of Citizens Energy Corp. and its for-profit business Citizens Wind, is trying to seize control of a proposed wind farm on the tribe’s reservation on Gray Mountain in northern Arizona.

“Kennedy’s actions have single-handedly obstructed project development, delaying much-needed income and jobs for our nation,” said Edward Singer, president of the Navajos’ 1,500-member Cameron Chapter.

In a letter to Kennedy earlier this month, Singer accused Kennedy of using his “political connections” to take control of the project.

“If you are honestly committed to helping communities such as ours, please stop interfering with the Cameron Chapter so that we can move forward with the development of our Navajo Wind Project,” Singer wrote. “Instead, we suggest you support wind development elsewhere, including the Cape Wind Project in Massachusetts.”

It’s that last sentence about Cape Wind that indicates that the gloves are off on this one, and many people reading this are nodding in agreement.For the rest of you, it goes like this: The Cape Wind Project is a Massachusetts-based organization trying to create an offshore wind farm several miles off the coast of Nantucket. Me, I’m more of a nuclear power kind of guy when it comes to alternative energy, but what the heck: I’m also more of a regionalism kind of guy, and there’s nothing wrong with wind power generally. If you’ve got a resource like a reliable breeze to exploit, go ahead and exploit it if you can do so without messing up your neighbors’ lives.

Alas, when you’re a Kennedy, “messing up your neighbors’ lives” and “messing up your neighbors’ view” is pretty much synonymous – at least, when a Kennedy is a neighbor. I’ll give you a choice. You can read this article (“Ted Kennedy hits Cape Wind OK“), or watch the video about Kennedy vs. Cape Wind below:

…but, really, the message is the same either way. Espousing the use of alternative energy is all very nice, but not if it has even the slightest negative impact on any aspect of our self-identifying “elite” class. Yes, you’ve heard this one before: “I’ll believe that it’s a problem when the people who say it’s a problem act like it’s a problem” is the way that Glenn Reynolds puts it, I believe. And so the guy who pushes alternative energy in general tries to push it away from Nantucket.

So that’s why this guy from the Navajos is bringing it up. He’s claiming that Nephew Bobbie is conniving with the president of the Navajo tribe to take away the wind farm that the local Navajos have been working to develop so that Kennedy’s company can move in – and, not incidentally, reap in revenues that can apparently sustain an annual payment of $10 million a year. You can read more on the story here: if all of this sounds like the plot of an episode of Magnum PI or The A-Team, complete with greedy developers conniving to cheat a local community out of its only resource, well, yes. With one difference.

This is actually happening.

12 Comments

  • Al Reasin says:

    I was to manage, about 5 years ago, a $1.2 billion modification of a coal fired power plant’s two units in Nevada to bring them up to environmental standards. Additionally a new coal mine to be opened. The faculty had many Navajo workers and the new mine was owned by the Navajo Nation. For some reason, which I never found out why, the projects were canceled and the power plants had to shutdown because the CA PUC would not approve it. The power was to go to CA, so they had a say in the project. I can well imagine that the Navajo Nation is fed up with politicians.

  • ic says:

    Other for profit organizations doing it is greed, a Kennedy doing it is for the tribe’s own good. The tribe should stop bothering a Kennedy, else …

  • Tom says:

    Hmmm. If you read the article to which you link, it appears this is more of an issue regarding tribal governance rather than Kennedy trying to pull a fast one. I am no fan of the Kennedys but in this instance it appears two tribal factions were negotiating for different projects on the same land. Too bad the linked article is not specific as to the issues because I am sure the true story is probably just as unbelievable as the Bad Kennedy story line.

  • Tom says:

    As I suspected, this is really more an issue of Navajo tribal governance than Kennedy and Citizen taking advantage of the tribe. Follow this link to a story on Kennedy’s visit to the local Cameron community in December. Note the comment by one attendee that the Navajos cannot blame Kennedy for “our lack of laws.”

    http://www.navajotimes.com/news/2008/1208/121808wind.php

  • Moe_Lane says:

    Huh. I shouldn’t have had to approve that second comment from the same person; I thought that we had configured it for first post only. Weird.

  • Paul says:

    Shouldn’t Joe be boot licking Chavez?

    Which Kennedy was it that blocked the power transmission lines at Storm King, on the Hudson, and had them run through working class areas rather than ruin his view?

  • Rocketeer says:

    Tom, it’s really not either/or. This is an instance of a Kennedy exploiting a political feud between tribal factions. The fact that the Navajo are feuding over control of the project internally doesn’t make Little Joe’s involvement less sleazy – I’d argue it makes it more so. He should stay the hell away – like, you know, “Nantucket” away.

  • [...] when Moe Lane, posted a link to this article, I was, to say the least, amused.   I just stumped on how to play [...]

  • [...] Cape Wind matter is one that I mentioned here – essentially, Ted Kennedy is enthusastic about wind farms, except when they’re within view [...]

  • [...] a great time to bring up the Cape Wind wind farm project again (some background on the topic here). As near as I can tell, the Globe got this one in before the first spadeful of Virginia earth got [...]

  • [...] a great time to bring up the Cape Wind wind farm project again (some background on the topic here). As near as I can tell, the Globe got this one in before the first spadeful of Virginia earth got [...]

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