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State officials discourage Delaware Bay wind farm

New Jersey and Delaware environmental officials say a wind farm planned for the Delaware Bay could disturb an important flyway for birds. Delsea Energy of Toms River, N.J., has a plan to construct 106 turbines in the upper Delaware Bay, on the New Jersey side of the shipping channel that divides Garden State waters from those controlled by Delaware.

New Jersey and Delaware environmental officials say a wind farm planned for the Delaware Bay could disturb an important flyway for birds.

Delsea Energy of Toms River, N.J., has a plan to construct 106 turbines in the upper Delaware Bay, on the New Jersey side of the shipping channel that divides Garden State waters from those controlled by Delaware.

The proposed project, which would be built one and two miles off Cumberland County, N.J., would be visible from the Delaware shore, said a Delaware environmental official.

If built, it would be bigger than the planned Bluewater Wind offshore wind farm, a planned 79-turbine facility 14 miles off the coast of Rehoboth Beach.

Delsea applied to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the United States Army Corps of Engineers to build a meteorological tower and other monitors to study wind patterns and bird flight patterns.

But in a letter sent to Delsea on Aug. 20, the New Jersey environmental agency discouraged the project, saying it could threaten birds including the endangered red knot. which visits the bay each spring on its migration from South America to the Arctic.

Scott Brubaker, assistant commissioner for land... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

New Jersey and Delaware environmental officials say a wind farm planned for the Delaware Bay could disturb an important flyway for birds.

Delsea Energy of Toms River, N.J., has a plan to construct 106 turbines in the upper Delaware Bay, on the New Jersey side of the shipping channel that divides Garden State waters from those controlled by Delaware.

The proposed project, which would be built one and two miles off Cumberland County, N.J., would be visible from the Delaware shore, said a Delaware environmental official.

If built, it would be bigger than the planned Bluewater Wind offshore wind farm, a planned 79-turbine facility 14 miles off the coast of Rehoboth Beach.

Delsea applied to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the United States Army Corps of Engineers to build a meteorological tower and other monitors to study wind patterns and bird flight patterns.

But in a letter sent to Delsea on Aug. 20, the New Jersey environmental agency discouraged the project, saying it could threaten birds including the endangered red knot. which visits the bay each spring on its migration from South America to the Arctic.

Scott Brubaker, assistant commissioner for land use management, wrote that there also are concerns about architectural and visual impacts and possible harm to oyster seed beds.

The DEP stressed concerns about the bay's "strategic location on the North American flyway and importance to migratory and other bird populations."

The letter stopped short of a formal denial of the test tower and monitors.

"I don't want to give the impression the decision has been made, because it has not," said Elaine Makatura, director of the agency's press office. "Our goal is to protect and preserve our natural resources in ecologically rich areas, but we have to balance that against the need for alternative energy sources."

The pushback comes despite Gov. Jon Corzine's goal to install 3,000 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2020.

Delaware environmental officials also registered their "serious concerns" with the location of the project, said Philip Cherry, a policy manager at the Department of Environmental Resources and Environmental Control.

Cherry said the wind farm would be opposite the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge.

"It simply is not the right place for a large wind farm. It's as simple as that," Cherry said.

Brad Campbell, counsel to Delsea, said the company would continue to pursue the project, but is open to modifying the location. The company is sensitive to concerns about wildlife, he said.

In 2006, Bluewater considered building 182 turbines off Slaughter Beach in Delaware Bay, but decided against it.

Cherry said officials discouraged the site for the same reasons they're discouraging the Delsea plan. Bluewater's current site, far offshore, would be likely to have far fewer effects on birds, although studies need to be conducted to confirm that, he said.


Source: http://www.delmarvanow.com/...

SEP 3 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/22014-state-officials-discourage-delaware-bay-wind-farm
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