Articles filed under Offshore Wind from New Jersey
Commercial fishing advocates stressed that BOEM needs to make a priority of avoiding and mitigating negative impacts their industry and the nation’s seafood supply. The waters between. New York and New Jersey are some of the most productive on the East Coast and account for much of the sea scallop harvest, valued at $746 million in 2019, according to the Fisheries Survival Fund. ...“It is unquestionable that the proliferation of new turbine arrays will have detrimental impacts on the scallop fishery and other fisheries,” according to a statement from the Fisheries Survival Fund. “Windfarms will and demonstrably do change ocean ecosystems. The goal of mitigation should be to strike a balance that ensures mutual prosperity, not merely an uneasy, zero-sum co-existence.”
A group of New Jersey residents have sued the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to seek the reversal of its March decision to pursue the development of an area of ocean 30 miles off the coast of New Jersey for wind turbines.
The poles, or monopoles driven into the seabed will be 35 feet in diameter, rising 80 stories tall, with 350-foot blades. They will be surrounded by hard structures that had never before existed off the Jersey coast. Hornick worries the construction noise and vibrations will damage marine mammals like dolphins, who depend on echolocation to navigate. And the wind farms could jeopardize the survival of the endangered Atlantic right whale; fewer than 400 are alive today. The Jersey Shore’s fisheries are also worried the wind farms would limit fishing areas and could permanently reduce their catch. The wind farms would occupy some of the most fertile fishing grounds in the nation, prompting a growing battle between fisheries and wind power.
“Let me be clear. I do not intend to be an obstructionist, but it’s my job to look out for Ocean City,” he said. Opposition to the offshore wind turbines has built as the project gets closer to reality. In his comments, Gillian mentioned concerns raised by commercial and recreational fishing groups. “The project should not move forward until all concerns of the fishing communities are adequately addressed,” he said, also saying potential threats to the environment and to the public should also be addressed.
“I understand that federal and state decision makers have the power to approve this project without Ocean City’s consent, but I intend to do everything in my power to advocate for Ocean City’s best interests,” Gillian said. “I believe in the objectives of clean energy, but I know these can be advanced while also addressing the points I’ve just listed.”
“From my perspective as a fishery scientist, that’s a lot of ocean and a lot of fisheries and a lot of marine habitat that is on the table,” says shellfish ecologist Daphne Monroe, who works at Rutgers Haskin Shellfish Research Lab. “So it’s a lot to think about.” ...Her computer modelling shows fishermen like Dameron and Quintana are right to be fearful. “The concentration of fishing to certain parts of the ocean will probably mean there will be a depletion of the stock,” she said. “It’ll probably mean the fleet won’t be able to operate where they are now. But it certainly hasn’t changed the planning and leasing strategy of where these wind farms are gonna go.”
UNDER SCRUTINY: The U.S. Interior Department is reviewing Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind’s plan for construction and operations.
New Jersey is moving aggressively to become the leader in the fast-growing offshore wind energy industry on the East Coast, but not everyone is blown away by those ambitious plans. While the state's Democratic political leadership is solidly behind a rapid build-out of wind energy projects off the coast — it has set a goal of generating 100% of its energy from clean sources by 2050 — opposition is growing among citizens groups, and even some green energy-loving environmentalists are wary of the pace and scope of the plans.
Michael Shellenberger doesn’t live in New Jersey. He doesn’t even live on the East Coast. But the California resident, author and environmental advocate spoke about how an offshore wind farm project planned 15 miles off the coast from Atlantic City to Stone Harbor is bad for the environment, wildlife, marine life and the fishing industry.
ATLANTIC CITY — Local officials joined a call for offshore wind development in a virtual event Tuesday morning.
If wind farms can produce clean energy, supplied to millions of customers in coastal metropolitan areas, and also provide immediate and long-lasting jobs, why are some environmental groups and activists asking the government to pump the brakes on legislation?
...debates on merits and impacts [of offshore wind energy development] must be made at the local level; however, during the pandemic, in-person discussion and discourse was rendered impossible. Still, the state and federal government are barreling ahead with these projects despite the concerns of local residents and town officials. The Sweeney/Burzichelli legislation isn’t just a slippery slope, it’s an avalanche of government over-reach. As the letter writers noted, “these bills take away the ability of local government to render decisions that they feel reflect the best interest of the community and replaces it with a process that favors foreign investment.”
New Jersey has approved two giant off-shore wind farms in the biggest single go-ahead to energy creation at sea in the U.S. — but at least one will almost certainly face legal action from opponents. The two projects, Atlantic Shores and Ocean Wind 2, will see a total of 193 wind turbines that reach hundreds of feet into the air built as close as 10.5 miles off the South Jersey coast.
The Responsible Offshore Development Alliance has taken the lead in advocating for the fishing industry. It says a major concern is that fishing vessels could strike one of the massive wind farm turbines in bad weather. In addition, it says the spinning blades interfere with the radar vessels use to find their catch. And fishermen like Gilbert worry that the structures will alter the ocean ecosystem. “We’re racing forward without the proper science to evaluate if this is good or if this is bad,” Gilbert said.
The state Senate and Assembly on Thursday approved a bill giving state regulators the authority to seize property or grant easements for transmission lines carrying electricity from offshore windmills to the power grid, even over local objections. The companion bills, S3926 and A5894, authorize “certain offshore wind projects to construct power lines and obtain real property interests; grants BPU authority to supersede certain local governmental powers upon petition from offshore wind project.”
While the City Council of the City of Ocean City understands the desire of the state to develop alternative sources of energy to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, rushing to accomplish this goal without due process, full disclosure of facts, ample public debate of the environmental impacts and circumventing of the Home Rule Act does not reflect a truly democratic process. All that these bills accomplish is to short circuit the ability of local officials, who know their community the best, the ability to have meaningful input on issues that will significantly affect their communities for minimally the next 25 years.
Environmentalists, commercial fishermen, recreational boaters, labor unions, homeowners, boardwalk businesses, NIMBYs and ratepayer advocates are all circling Orsted, the Dutch wind power company behind what could be one of the largest wind farms in North America. Local, state and federal officials are also starting to feel the heat. Just about everyone involved, including David Hardy, CEO of Orsted US, worries the project could devolve into chaos.
With the state Board of Public Utilities’ anticipated decision on granting approval for a second wind farm off the coast expected next month, Long Beach Island officials met in April with counterparts from Cape May County and state and federal legislators to discuss the negative impacts of offshore wind farms on shore communities. “The Island, as a whole, is against it. The whole coast is against it,” said Surf City Mayor Francis Hodgson, who hosted the virtual meeting last month.
In official comments to the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) submitted July 30, 2018, New York suggested the wind turbines be no closer than 20 miles from shore. This recommendation was based upon an earlier study by BOEM that concluded that 600-foot-high turbines produced a “dominate impact “on the beach view 15 miles offshore. Adjusting for the new 50% taller turbines, the suggested distance from the shore should be 30 miles. In Europe, the closest lease area for these jumbo turbines is 44 miles out. The New York decision begs the question of why lease areas from Maryland to Massachusetts aren’t being rejected on the same merits.
The Atlantic coast contains some of the most productive fisheries in the world. BOEM is supposed to work with fisheries interests to ensure offshore wind development does not adversely affect habitat and the livelihood of fishermen. In fact, in December of last year, the Department of the Interior issued a detailed memo stating that the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act prohibits offshore wind approvals if a project would interfere with fishing. But just a few weeks ago, the administration reversed those findings.