OCEAN COUNTY – A 900 nautical-square-mile area off the coast of Point Pleasant Beach and barrier island towns is being explored by the federal government as a site for wind generation farms.
Two areas controlled by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management [BOEM] are being considered as leasing sites and they are the focus of competing interests.
The areas are prized by local fishermen as rich in scallops and clams and other species that drive the commercial and recreational fishing industries.
“There are places where [BOEM] can put wind farms where they are out of our way, and there are places where they could put them that are going to cost us a lot of money,” said Jim Lovgren, director of the Fishermen’s Dock Co-Operative, located on Channel Drive in Point Pleasant Beach.
The co-operative primarily fishes for fluke, silver hake and scallop.
“The amount of windmills they want to put out there is going to affect the fishing industry, there are no two ways about it,” Mr. Lovgren added.
Environmentalists, however, see the proposal as a step toward a clean energy future and are supportive of the initiative, but caution the impact on marine life must be considered.
“The impacts of climate change require us to be bold in our development of offshore wind energy while at the same time protecting our marine ecosystems, which are made vulnerable by an ever changing ocean,” said Helen Henderson, of the American Littoral Society.
For more on this story, read The Ocean Star—on newsstands Friday or online in our e-Edition.
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