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Group organizes to fight offshore wind farms, arguing they’re not clean, green or economical

OCEAN CITY — Organizers and supporters of a group fighting planned wind farms off the coast of southern New Jersey warn residents their communities could be next.

“We realize it’s not just our little area,” said Tricia Conti of Ocean City, one of the founders behind the group with the website saveourshorelinenj.com. “We need to protect our entire shoreline.”

Conti, interviewed last week, said when she started a Facebook group in September her mantra was, “A wind farm is coming to a beach near you.” That was when she started researching Ørsted’s Ocean Wind project proposing up to 99 wind turbines on a plot 15 miles off shore that will be visible on the horizon from north of Atlantic City to Stone Harbor. Since then she learned of another proposed wind farm, Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, in a similar-sized plot of some 186,000 acres just north of the Ocean Wind project.

Conti said these projects, still in the design and approval phase, could set the stage for wind farms up and down the coast. Once parameters for a project get established and approved, those parameters set the stage for everyone, she said, likening it to zoning, that once a rule becomes acceptable, it becomes the norm. Her group... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

OCEAN CITY — Organizers and supporters of a group fighting planned wind farms off the coast of southern New Jersey warn residents their communities could be next.

“We realize it’s not just our little area,” said Tricia Conti of Ocean City, one of the founders behind the group with the website saveourshorelinenj.com. “We need to protect our entire shoreline.”

Conti, interviewed last week, said when she started a Facebook group in September her mantra was, “A wind farm is coming to a beach near you.” That was when she started researching Ørsted’s Ocean Wind project proposing up to 99 wind turbines on a plot 15 miles off shore that will be visible on the horizon from north of Atlantic City to Stone Harbor. Since then she learned of another proposed wind farm, Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, in a similar-sized plot of some 186,000 acres just north of the Ocean Wind project.

Conti said these projects, still in the design and approval phase, could set the stage for wind farms up and down the coast. Once parameters for a project get established and approved, those parameters set the stage for everyone, she said, likening it to zoning, that once a rule becomes acceptable, it becomes the norm. Her group believes if these wind farms get established, that makes it easier for others to be built up and down the coast of New Jersey.

Suzanne Hornick, who heads the Ocean City Flooding Committee in Ocean City, said her group is backing Save Our Shoreline NJ. She has been outspoken about flooding issues in the resort and is putting the wind farms in her and her group’s sights.

“We’re just a nonpartisan group of everyday people from all walks of life and all political persuasions that truly care about this for a gazillion different reasons, mostly environmental, and community-wise that this is not the right thing for us ever,” Hornick said last week.

“It is important to me that people understand the Atlantic Shores and the Ocean Wind 1 are not where it’s going to stop,” Hornick said. “It has the potential to be hundreds and hundreds and hundreds (of wind turbines) and they’re 900 frickin’ feet tall. That’s the important thing.”

The turbines stretch 853 feet above the ocean surface, according to Ørsted. Each of the three blades per turbine is about 350 feet long, creating a sweep some 722 feet in diameter.

Conti said a friend created a graphic showing the size of each of the turbines in comparison with other structures, showing that they are taller than Ocean One casino (formerly Revel) in Atlantic City.

Hornick said she and group member Tony Butch stood on the 56th Street beach in Ocean City, which they said was a little more than 16 miles from the casino, and could see it clearly. They did that to note what the view would be like of some 99 turbines on the horizon. Ørsted, on its website, oceanwind.com, has photo illustrations of the view of the Ocean Wind turbines from Long Beach Island to Cape May, but the advocacy group does not believe they adequately represent the actual view once the farm is established.

“We could see the old Revel with our eyes,” Hornick said. “It is 16 miles from us. These windmills will be bigger and we can see Revel plain as day. They’re just nuts if they think we won’t see them (wind turbines).”

Conti, Hornick and Butch all said the vast majority of people aren’t aware of the projects.

Conti said she joined Facebook groups in Ventnor, Avalon and Long Beach Island to help spread awareness after she talked to neighbors in Ocean City who were unfamiliar with the Ørsted project.

The Ocean Wind project is scheduled to be operational by 2024 and Atlantic Shores by 2027, if both projects are approved.

“The more people I talked to the more people said they didn’t know about it,” Conti said. “People are like, ‘Oh my gosh, really, these are going in?’

“People are looking for information,” she added. “Their initial reaction is shock: ‘I didn’t know!’”

Conti had set up an initial website, but the group created the new one which is more comprehensive and has links to articles and a change.org petition to stop the wind farm.

She said when people come to the group via the website, they try to direct them to the petition to stop the turbines.

Conti and Hornick said the state and some communities are failing their citizens because they aren’t doing enough to inform them about the wind farm or its potential negative impacts.

Conti said she learned from residents in places including Margate and Ventnor who said they haven’t heard from their local officials about the project even though “they are just as affected as Ocean City.”

“People feel blindsided by the state,” Hornick said. “How can they do this without consulting the stakeholders, the people who live here? In Ocean City there is a significant amount of anger that this is happening without any input from the people it will directly affect.”

Conti noted that Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, which would be directly in front of Long Beach Island, hasn’t released information on how many wind turbines are planned there.

“If you walked down the shore and asked the average person, people wouldn’t know what you’re talking about,” Butch said. “They have no clue. A lot of people are going to go out there one day and see them.

“If you polled 100 people at the shore and asked what they think of Ørsted,” Butch said, “99 won’t know about it.

Proponents of wind power, including Gov. Phil Murphy, are touting the project’s green energy potential and reduction in carbon emissions compared to coal-fired and gas- and oil-fired energy producers. Ørsted says its Ocean Wind farm will provide enough electricity for 500,000 homes and businesses.

Atlantic Shores reports it is a 50-50 venture between Shell New Energies US LLC and EDF Renewable North America. Its website (atlanticshoreswind.com) says it will provide clean energy for “nearly 1.5 million homes.”

Wind is not clean and not green group argues

The Save Our Shoreline NJ group vehemently disagrees with the belief the ocean wind farms are going to provide “clean” energy. They point to a range of issues that worry them.

The group’s website has a laundry list of items they claim bely the green nature of the project and its safety.

Among the fears they believe are being ignored or downplayed are the impact of the wind farm on the tourism economy at the shore, that electricity rates will go up, that most parts of the turbines aren’t recyclable and will end up in landfills, that the turbines can leak oil into the ocean, the disruption and harm to the recreational and commercial fishing industries, that hundreds of thousands of birds will be killed by the turbine blades, and the electromagnetic fields (EMF) that can negatively affect sea life and human life. (There are far more details in the arguments laid out on the group’s website.)

Officials in Ocean City have argued strenuously for the past few months that they fear an economic disruption of tourism if the view of the horizon includes nearly 100 wind turbines.

Hornick echoed those concerns, believing some of the remains of the 500,000 birds killed by the turbines a year will either wash up on the beaches or attract predators such as sharks closer to shore, also attracted by the EMF from the cables. She fears seeing oil balls from leaks on the turbines where she’s swimming.

She worries about the EMF if Ørsted’s transmission cables are allowed to be buried in city streets and their impact on the health of local children, and if cables are in the bay how they will disrupt the bay environment.

“We have a lot of at-risk and endangered species back there,” she said. “What is going to happen with these cables if they disrupt that environment that in some cases is very fragile and continue to give off EMF that we know is going to repel certain creatures? I don’t understand why more wildlife groups aren’t concerned with that.”

Hornick said after the cables are run the government will come in to determine if the EMF “are within allowable levels – not safe levels, because there are no such thing – but allowable levels. Well who the hell is the government to decided how much is allowable when it comes to jeopardizing my child’s brain or putting them are risk for cancer?”

She also brought up concerns that may not be local, but do affect the health of the planet, including mining for rare earth minerals in China for renewable energy products that are posing a danger to both the Earth and harming the health of the people mining for them.

As she, Conti and Butch discussed their concerns and worries, they pointed to their group’s website as a way of informing and educating other citizens about their views on the wind farm projects and to let people know they aren’t alone if they have fears.

“It’s a groundswell of people from all over the coast of New Jersey from LBI south with one common goal,” Hornick said of Save Our Shoreline NJ, “and that’s to stop this because we know in every possible way it’s not green, it’s not clean,  it’s not safe. It certainly isn’t going to help us economically.”


Source: https://ocnjsentinel.com/20...

MAR 10 2021
https://www.windaction.org/posts/52593-group-organizes-to-fight-offshore-wind-farms-arguing-they-re-not-clean-green-or-economical
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