Articles filed under Impact on Landscape from New Jersey
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 New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is being pressed behind-the-scenes to drop its opposition to wind farms in Delaware Bay, an internationally recognized migratory bird stopover, according to e-mails released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Documents reveal a powerful South Jersey Senator and a former DEP Commissioner pushing to reverse a DEP scientific finding that Delaware Bay "is not appropriate for a large-scale wind turbine project due to...impacts to migratory and other bird populations."
The board voted 8-2 today, after two hours of public comment, in favor of Public Service Electric & Gas Co.'s proposed 45-mile, $750 million high-voltage power line project that opponents testified would ravage the land -- hurting flora and fauna -- and damage the region's natural beauty.
The industrialization of the ocean, coastal overdevelopment, contaminated sites and global warming will be among the top environmental issues in the Garden State next year, observers said. "What we're seeing is a gold rush toward energy development in the ocean," said Tim Dillingham, executive director of the American Littoral Society, a Sandy Hook-based coastal conservation coalition. "We gotta take better care of the coast," he said.
Instead of messing with farms, let's put solar and wind energy facilities where they belong. ...This legislation tries to satisfy one societal need - clean energy - by compromising another - preserved farmland. Perhaps it's easier to place clean power generation facilities on open land than retrofit other sites, but this tendency to look to greenfields to satisfy new development needs is precisely the kind of practice that has brought so much sprawl to New Jersey.
The federal program that would allow wind turbines offshore seems to be "very industry-driven," said Jennifer Samson, principal scientist for Clean Ocean Action, following a federal Minerals Management Service workshop on proposed rules. The "MMS acknowledges that they don't know . . . the environmental consequences of this development," said Tim Dillingham, executive director of the American Littoral Society, a Sandy Hook-based coastal conservation group. "They have no standards and a free-for-all approach to this."
In November, municipal officials tabled the introduction of a windmill-related ordinance after a member of the Sourland Mountain Planning Council voiced concerns about the impact of the windmills on some endangered species and plants in the region. While Steve Bales, also a township resident, is a proponent of renewable energy, he asked Township Committee members to amend the language of the ordinance to reflect better ways to preserve the Sourland Mountain region. Council members did just that and introduced a new version of the ordinance Tuesday. The measure is up for public review and a possible vote Dec. 26. ..."I do have a concern over the setback," said Laura Burshnic, a township resident. "I think 180 feet is just a little too close. I wouldn't want to look out my window and see that. It would be an eyesore." The Township Committee then changed the ordinance to reflect a windmill having a 250-foot setback from property lines, easements or utility lines.
Environmentalists are divided over whether "wind farms" are an Earth-friendly source of power. Timothy P. Dillingham, director of the New Jersey chapter of the American Littoral Society, is a member of the blue-ribbon panel that studied the issue. He and his organization oppose the idea..."We are talking about building an industrial facility out in the ocean," he said. "There is no framework, no set of regulations to ensure public protection. People think there is money to be made. People think there is some answer to global warming here. Caution is being thrown to the wind, so to speak."