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Truth is blowing in the wind

On page 5 of a GE Energy document titled “Wind Energy Basics” (www. gepower.com/businesses/ge_wind _energy/en/downloads/wind_energy_ basics.pdf), it states, “Siting wind turbines and assessing the feasibility of a proposed location must consider factors such as Community Acceptance and compatibility with adjacent land uses. … Hence, megawatt-scale wind turbines cannot be located in densely populated areas.”

In Union Beach a “densely populated area” begins 1,080 feet from the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority’s site for their proposed 380-foot-tall GE industrial wind turbine. As for community acceptance, Union Beach, Hazlet, Keyport and the Monmouth County Freeholders have all passed resolutions opposing the turbine. About 80 percent of area residents are staunchly opposed, 10 percent are ambivalent and 10 percent are for it. I know this from reports from two Union Beach residents who have gone door to door to hand out information and ask folks to sign letters to Gov. Christie opposing the turbine. To date, almost 600 letters have been sent and there are more to follow. The BRSA has claimed that area residents are friendly to the idea of a turbine. I think not. They are spinning the truth like they hope their turbine will spin.

What is most troublesome is that they already constructed the foundation in order to meet the deadline for receiving 50 percent funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. However, they did this prior to having all their permits finalized and also prior to acquiring an additional half-acre of land from JCP&L on Conaskonk Point, a pristine wetland and bird-nesting ground. They need this to allow for the blades of the industrial turbine to overhang their existing property line. Essentially, they spent that money on spec because they are in a legal battlewithUnion Beach and its neighbors for the right to finish the project. This is the height of fiscal mismanagement. They have spent millions of ratepayer money already and even more money is in jeopardy of going down the sewer.

The commissioners were appointed to represent the interest of their towns and their residents. Clearly, they do not. The two from Union Beach even voted to sue their own town for putting www.noturbine.com on a sign outside of borough hall. The BRSA lost that suit, a First Amendment victory, but it further makes the case that the commissioners put the wind industry above the interests of their communities. An organic outcry has begun in Union Beach and Hazlet, “Recall and replace the commissioners with ones who represent their towns, not Big Wind.” I heartily concur.

Bill Heller
Union Beach