SEA GIRT – In front of a crowd of about 200 Sea Girt and Manasquan residents and joined by state legislators, the Borough Council unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday night objecting to the construction of a federally funded wind turbine at the state-owned National Guard Training Center just south of the borough.
The resolution was approved in response to an outpouring of concern from borough residents over the proposed 406-foot turbine, which many believe will pose threats to their safety and well-being and will be damaging to the environment and property values.
The state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs expects that if various permits are acquired, construction on the project may begin next fall, paid for with up to $5 million in Department of Defense funds. A DMVA spokesman said it would likely be built in the southeast corner of the training center about 500 feet from the beach.
The residents, many of whom were wearing freshly printed “Stop the Turbine” T-shirts, sat quietly through the regular agenda until the council passed the resolution and opened the floor for public comment.
James Jude Plaia, one of a handful of residents working to spread the word about the project with letters, lawn signs, T-shirts and even a biplane banner, pointed out that the state Department of Environmental Protection issued a report in 2009 designating the training center’s beach as off-limits to large-scale wind projects because endangered piping plovers and other birds nest there.
“To tell me that I can’t fly a kite or throw a Frisbee on the beach, but you want to put up a 400-foot, industrial, 1.5-megawatt wind turbine, is environmentally hypocritical,” Plaia said, referring to the DEP’s restrictions on beach activity, which have been imposed in Sea Girt to protect the birds.
A dozen residents also brought up concerns about noise, dangerous accidents and plummeting property values. State Sen. Sean Kean and Assemblyman David Rible, both R-Monmouth, addressed the crowd, promising to fight the project.
“You have our attention,” Rible said. “You’re clearly on our radar.”
No representatives from the DMVA were present, but earlier on Wednesday, Chief Warrant Officer and DMVA spokesman Patrick Daugherty said his department was aware of residents’ concerns and was in the midst of several studies to gauge the possible effects of the turbine.
An environmental study on possible impacts on bird and bat populations is under way, he said, as are surveys to determine the possible social and financial effects of the turbine on surrounding communities.
The results of the studies may not be available until next spring, Daugherty said, but residents should “be assured that the state and federal government are following all the prescribed guidelines. Sea Girt and the surrounding towns have long had good relationships with the Guard, Daugherty said.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding