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Residents voice concerns over offshore windmills

Joan Berko of Bay Head, who fishes for a living, said: "I'm totally against this."

TOMS RIVER — As a member of the Jersey Coast Anglers Association, Thomas Fote is concerned about his access to fish. But he also wants to heat his home.

"The only reason I can afford to heat my house is because it's 60 degrees in January," said Fote, on an unseasonably warm evening. "We need to find alternative energy sources. We need something that's clean and won't pollute the environment."

Fote was among several area residents who came to a meeting Thursday night of a special panel to voice their opinions following November's release of an interim report that explores the pros and cons of building offshore wind turbines.

"This is something that we should be looking at," Fote said. "If it's done safely, cleanly" and in a way "that protects wildlife, we support it."

But not everyone agreed.

Joan Berko of Bay Head, who fishes for a living, said: "I'm totally against this."

She cited possible detrimental effects on marine life and a fear that commercial fishermen — who do not currently compete but might see their space depleted by the turbines — could be forced into fishing the same areas.

She said nuclear energy should be considered, as well as reducing consumption.

The panel... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
TOMS RIVER — As a member of the Jersey Coast Anglers Association, Thomas Fote is concerned about his access to fish. But he also wants to heat his home.

"The only reason I can afford to heat my house is because it's 60 degrees in January," said Fote, on an unseasonably warm evening. "We need to find alternative energy sources. We need something that's clean and won't pollute the environment."

Fote was among several area residents who came to a meeting Thursday night of a special panel to voice their opinions following November's release of an interim report that explores the pros and cons of building offshore wind turbines.

"This is something that we should be looking at," Fote said. "If it's done safely, cleanly" and in a way "that protects wildlife, we support it."

But not everyone agreed.

Joan Berko of Bay Head, who fishes for a living, said: "I'm totally against this."

She cited possible detrimental effects on marine life and a fear that commercial fishermen — who do not currently compete but might see their space depleted by the turbines — could be forced into fishing the same areas.

She said nuclear energy should be considered, as well as reducing consumption.

The panel hearing arguments Thursday as part of its last round of hearings — The Blue Ribbon Panel on Development of Wind Turbine Facilities in Coastal Waters — was formed by Gov. Codey in an effort to evaluate the costs and benefits of developing offshore wind turbines, or windmills.

The panel's 89-page report did not reveal which way it was leaning.

The panel is saving its findings until its work is completed in March, when it's expected to offer a comprehensive report to Gov.-elect Jon S. Corzine.

Some Thursday night said the report left too many unanswered questions.

Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action, said the report lacked "essential" information and questioned its accuracy in some areas.

For instance, it does not discuss the cost of construction, maintenance, operation and decommission of such turbines, Zipf said, and does not clearly indicate what types of energy offshore wind will replace.

Despite some important unanswered questions, the state should proceed cautiously with an offshore wind turbine project, said Michael Pisauro, representing the New Jersey Environmental Lobby.

Because of the importance of developing alternative energy sources, Pisauro said, "we should go forward with a small, pilot program."

Wind energy "might not be the whole solution, but it is part of the solution," he said.

Source: http://www.app.com/apps/pbc...

JAN 13 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/972-residents-voice-concerns-over-offshore-windmills
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