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Ocean City residents launch petition against offshore wind farm

A proposed offshore wind farm continues to draw opposition from New Jersey's southern coastal communities. Ørsted's proposed project aims to construct 99 wind turbines about 15 miles off the coast from Atlantic City to Cape May. The wind turbines are expected to produce enough energy to power half a million homes by 2024, according to Ørsted officials.

A proposed offshore wind farm continues to draw opposition from New Jersey's southern coastal communities.

OCEAN CITY, NJ — A proposed offshore wind farm continues to draw opposition from New Jersey's southern coastal communities.

Ørsted's proposed project aims to construct 99 wind turbines about 15 miles off the coast from Atlantic City to Cape May. The wind turbines are expected to produce enough energy to power half a million homes by 2024, according to Ørsted officials.

Though the Danish energy company has promoted the project as an opportunity to produce clean energy and bring jobs to the area, Ocean City officials are concerned about wind turbines disrupting marine life both above and beneath the ocean, impacting their fishing and tourism industries.

Ocean City residents have also expressed opposition to the project during recent council meetings and online in a Facebook group. The administrators of Save Our Shoreline NJ have launched a website and a petition against the proposed wind farm due to environmental and financial concerns.

"We're not against wind energy. We're against this project specifically because we believe it's going to destroy the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

A proposed offshore wind farm continues to draw opposition from New Jersey's southern coastal communities.

OCEAN CITY, NJ — A proposed offshore wind farm continues to draw opposition from New Jersey's southern coastal communities.

Ørsted's proposed project aims to construct 99 wind turbines about 15 miles off the coast from Atlantic City to Cape May. The wind turbines are expected to produce enough energy to power half a million homes by 2024, according to Ørsted officials.

Though the Danish energy company has promoted the project as an opportunity to produce clean energy and bring jobs to the area, Ocean City officials are concerned about wind turbines disrupting marine life both above and beneath the ocean, impacting their fishing and tourism industries.

Ocean City residents have also expressed opposition to the project during recent council meetings and online in a Facebook group. The administrators of Save Our Shoreline NJ have launched a website and a petition against the proposed wind farm due to environmental and financial concerns.

"We're not against wind energy. We're against this project specifically because we believe it's going to destroy the Jersey coast for a number of reasons," said Suzanne Hornick, an administrator of the Facebook group, which has about 3,100 members.

Advocates behind Save Our Shoreline argue that Ørsted's project contradicts its promise of green energy, specifically the inefficiency of wind turbines, the disruption to the recreational and commercial fishing industry and the electromagnetic fields (EMF) that will be immersed in the ocean.

Their website also cites concerns about how the project could devastate Ocean City's tourism industry and how electricity sourced from offshore wind turbines is more expensive than turbines on land.

Ocean City resident Ric Bertsch argues that the project is too large for Ørsted to implement without a long-term study examining how the construction will affect fish populations that thrive in the Atlantic Ocean.

"We need a study in our waters—not England's waters or Denmark's waters, to see what happens because it's a different area," Bertsch said. "We feel that we should study this thing—not to say we totally don't want them, but we want to see what the repercussions are going to be if something were to happen over five years."

Save Our Shorelines' concerns about tourism loss echo those of Ocean City officials. The offshore wind farm will be planted in the Atlantic Flyway, a major bird route along the coast which draws a significant amount of birdwatchers, according to officials.

Hornick also fears that the obstructed view of the horizon may cause tourists to seek other vacation destinations over Ocean City.

"It's going to look like an industrial park out there," Hornick said, adding that another wind farm has been proposed further north along the coast of Long Beach Island. "Essentially the entire Jersey coast is going to be these windmills. It's going to destroy our pristine, natural beauty."

The proposed wind farm by Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind is expected to be about 10 miles off Barnegat Light. Long Beach Island municipalities have also opposed offshore wind farms.

Earlier this month, Ship Bottom approved a resolution to oppose Atlantic Shores' project, and Long Beach Township also adopted an ordinance against the project.

After public comment sessions conclude this spring, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Projection will rule on the safety and environmental impact of Ørsted's project. The permitting process is expected to take two years to complete.

Ørsted is seeking formal approval to run underground electric cables through Ocean City. Officials would need to approve an ordinance allowing the company to run the cables under the city's streets.

Hornick said more research exploring the impacts of offshore wind farms can be found on their website, adding that anyone against the project can also join the Facebook group, sign their petition and write to local representatives.

"We are attempting to not only reach out to locals, but to reach out to people from surrounding states who come to the Jersey Shore," said resident Susan Cox. "More and more people from out of town are coming to our shore and we need to make sure they have a say in what's happening here."

Ocean City officials have asked all members of the public, who are either for or against the proposed project, to make their voices heard during public comment sessions slated to happen this spring.


Source: https://patch.com/new-jerse...

MAR 11 2021
https://www.windaction.org/posts/52235-ocean-city-residents-launch-petition-against-offshore-wind-farm
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