Sierra Club promotes wind energy with kite flying in Asbury Park; protestors say it’s a waste of money
ASBURY PARK – Friday was Global Wind Day, a worldwide event for promoting the power of wind and its potential, activists argue, to change the world.
To celebrate the abundance of clean, renewable wind, the Sierra Club’s New Jersey chapter invited the community to the beach in Asbury Park to fly kites. It was a beautiful sun-streaked afternoon with a steady northeast wind.
However, while the kites flew, the debate continued on the ground for those in favor of wind energy and those opposed to it.
“The kites look fantastic in the sky and it’s a good illustration of what windpower can do. Wind is out there just like solar. Why not use it?” asked Robin Blair of Shrewsbury.
Ruth Miale came from Lawrence Township to take part in the event.
“I want my utlitiy bills to support clean air and New Jersey jobs,” Miale said.
Steve Lonegan of Americans for Prosperity, a group that opposes the use of wind energy and met a little farther north on Asbury Park argued that the state needs to cut taxes, not fly kites.
“They want our electricity rates to skyrocket like their kites are flying up in the sky. Well, kites don’t heat houses, folks,” said Lonegan. “Flying kites on a beach isn’t going to bring jobs back to the State of New Jersey.”
New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel said the club believes wind enery is a “cost-effective and reliable energy source.”
Tittel is also urging Gov. Chris Christie to move ahead with the Offshore Wind Development Act, which was signed into being nearly two years ago.
“New Jersey is the Saudi Arabia of wind, with so much potential to meet our energy needs. Gov. Christie’s master plan calls for 20 percent of New Jersey’s energy to come from offshore wind by 2020, but were are still waiting for the governor to come up with the rules and proposals,” Tittel said.
About 40 people came down to the beach to fly kites. The group also included about 15 kids from the Boys and Girls Club located in Asbury Park, led by program assitant Patricia Jackson.
“Kids today are more aware of the environment. They believe in recycling and cleaning parks. We as adults had to learn about it, but they’re growing up with it,” Tittel said.
Sierra Club kites competed in the sky with an airplane sponsored by Americans for Prosperity. The airplane flew up and down the beach with a banner that read “Save Our Beaches – Stop Windmills off the Jersey Shore.”
Americans for Prosperity, argues wind energy can only be affordable with taxpayer subsidies and will take away existing jobs from New Jersey.
“They (windmills) are the most expensive way to generate energy. Without the subsidies they will not be able to compete with other gas or other forms of energy,” said Mike Proto, spokesman for Americans for Prosperity.
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