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N.J. lining up against proposed Delaware Bay wind farm

A host of New Jersey environmental officials and scientists have lined up against another proposed "wind farm" in the Delaware Bay. In an Aug. 20 letter, Scott Brubaker, an assistant commissioner of the New Jersey state Department of Environmental Protection, listed numerous concerns about Delsea Energy's proposal for a 42 square mile field of wind turbines off the Cumberland County shore.

Protection of migratory and local bird populations an issue for project

A host of New Jersey environmental officials and scientists have lined up against another proposed "wind farm" in the Delaware Bay.

In an Aug. 20 letter, Scott Brubaker, an assistant commissioner of the New Jersey state Department of Environmental Protection, listed numerous concerns about Delsea Energy's proposal for a 42 square mile field of wind turbines off the Cumberland County shore.

The top problem is the potential effect on migratory and local bird populations. The bay region is a principal stopover for birds on the Atlantic Flyway, which connects habitat from the Canadian arctic to Mexico and the Caribbean.

But in a letter to his old boss, former Commissioner Bradley Campbell, Brubacker said everyone from the State Historic Preservation Office to DEP's shellfisheries bureau has reasons to question the impact of 106, 400-foot-tall structures with slowly spinning blades along the New Jersey side of the bay.
Earlier this year, DEP's scientific committee on wind power expressed similar doubts about a turbine field farther south in the bay off Cape May County.

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Protection of migratory and local bird populations an issue for project

A host of New Jersey environmental officials and scientists have lined up against another proposed "wind farm" in the Delaware Bay.

In an Aug. 20 letter, Scott Brubaker, an assistant commissioner of the New Jersey state Department of Environmental Protection, listed numerous concerns about Delsea Energy's proposal for a 42 square mile field of wind turbines off the Cumberland County shore.

The top problem is the potential effect on migratory and local bird populations. The bay region is a principal stopover for birds on the Atlantic Flyway, which connects habitat from the Canadian arctic to Mexico and the Caribbean.

But in a letter to his old boss, former Commissioner Bradley Campbell, Brubacker said everyone from the State Historic Preservation Office to DEP's shellfisheries bureau has reasons to question the impact of 106, 400-foot-tall structures with slowly spinning blades along the New Jersey side of the bay.
Earlier this year, DEP's scientific committee on wind power expressed similar doubts about a turbine field farther south in the bay off Cape May County.

With Campbell's help, Delsea is asking the DEP to allow it to perform further avian studies as part of a plan to build meteorological towers in the bay. The Toms River company would use the towers to gather data as a prelude to an application to build the wind farm.

But in his letter to Campbell, a lawyer who has become a go-to guy for companies seeking environmental approvals, Brubaker cited the "richness" of existing data on the topics. There would be "no value" to Delsea doing further studies, he said.

"The Department has determined that we have, over many years of study and evaluation, developed sufficient information regarding the diversity, scope and importance of avian resources in and around the Delaware Bay," Brubaker told Campbell, in a letter first reported by the Atlantic City Press.

In addition to migratory songbirds, "there a number of species that fly back-and-forth across the bay in that area, including the Red Knot, which is eligible for listing" as an endangered species, said David Mizrahi, vice president of research for the New Jersey Audubon Society.

"They're typically flying at low levels... at night," he said.

But in keeping with the politics of energy development, DEP spokeswoman Elaine Makatura disputed a suggestion that Brubaker's letter effectively discouraged Delsea's proposal.

"We don't discourage anything," she said. "It's up to the applicant to provide the back-up data to assess the impact."

But she did endorse his statements about the importance of the Delaware Bay as avian and aquatic habitat, saying, "we have lots of data to support that." Delsea's task is "tell us why this is appropriate" for wind turbines, Makatura said.

The state's energy master plan envisions wind power as part of a portfolio of power sources providing cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels. By 2013, it calls for the state to have 1,000 megawatts available from wind power. The Delsea project is intended to generate about 381 megawatts, enough to serve roughly 120,000 homes.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department awarded five leases for turbine fields in the Atlantic Ocean, each sized about 350 megawatts. The DEP has not received any applications for projects in offshore state waters, or elsewhere, Makatura said.

It also has not heard from Delsea since Brubaker's letter, she said. The company did not respond to a request for comment.


Source: http://www.newjerseynewsroo...

SEP 2 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/22017-n-j-lining-up-against-proposed-delaware-bay-wind-farm
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