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DEP retracts violation threat regarding proposed wind turbine in Union Beach

UNION BEACH – The state Department of Environmental Protection has backed away from written comments it made last week about a proposed wind turbine here, saying on Tuesday that it will not issue the project a notice of violation.

The Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority has a memorandum of understanding with a neighboring property owner – Jersey Central Power & Light Co. – for transferring some land needed for the air clearance of the turbine blades, said Larry Ragonese, a DEP spokesman.

The authority is expected to secure approval this week from the Freehold Soil Conservation District for disturbing grass during construction of the turbine base last year, Ragonese said.

A Feb. 8 letter by Marcedius T. Jameson, acting director of the DEP’s Water and Land Use Enforcement office, said the authority would receive a notice of violation on the air clearance and grass issues “very shortly.”

But Ragonese said the DEP and sewerage authority officials met Monday.

“We don’t think there will be an issue,” Ragonese said.

Stuart Lieberman, an attorney representing Union Beach, which is opposed to the project, could not be reached for comment.

The DEP’s reversal should demonstrate to the project’s opponents that the authority has made every effort to be in compliance with all related regulations, said Robert Fischer, its executive director.

“It was unfortunate,” Fischer said of the Feb. 8 letter.