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Beach Haven hears wind farm update  

Credit:  Beach Haven Hears Wind Farm Update | By Eric Englund | The SandPaper | October 20, 2021 | www.thesandpaper.net ~~

Beach Haven resident Bob Stern has taken a keen interest in Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind’s proposal to construct a wind farm off the coast of Beach Haven and neighboring Holgate and parts south to Atlantic City. And he’s not approaching it as a layman.

An aeronautical engineer, Stern worked for the U.S. Department of Energy in a capacity where he reviewed environmental impact statements on a host of projects. Although he had never reviewed any wind energy proposals, he sees this as having detrimental effects on the environment and economy.

During a presentation before the Beach Haven Borough Council last week, Stern said Atlantic Shores is looking to build a wind farm on a lease with the U.S. Department of the Interior. It would consist of 200 wind turbines, each about the height of three football fields, which he said could easily be seen from the Island.

“Any source who tells you that it won’t affect the Island probably had a bad time with geometry,” he said.

Stern, who is president of the LBI Coalition for Wind Without Impact, had discussed the project with the council on two other occasions. He said the latest development is that the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will soon begin an environmental impact study, a process that could take 18 months to two years.

“After two years, people might start seeing barges going out into the ocean to begin construction,” he said.

Stern said that to protect LBI’s natural seashore and economic lifeblood, the coalition favors that Atlantic Shores’ proposed wind turbines are moved farther offshore and out of sight to the Hudson South Call Area, which is approximately 30 to 57 miles from the coastline.​

But in their proposed location, he said the turbines would also be located by the migration path of the North Atlantic right whale, which he said is an endangered species.

“Only 360 of these whales still exist,” he said. “Whales navigate by noise, and the noise generated from these turbines will result in great harm. They would also force endangered fin and humpback whales attempting to avoid the noise from the turbines very close to shore, increasing beach stranding.”

Stern said the structures would also potentially decimate the threatened piping plover bird population that would have to cross the turbine complex to nest on the Island.

“Thirty percent of those birds are going to die,” he said.

He claimed the proposed location of the turbines would result in $300 million of lost tourism revenues annually and 18% fewer visits to the Island. Stern believes possible economic damages could lead to business bankruptcies and property foreclosures.

He said he has seen several surveys along the Eastern Seaboard asking whether vacationers would be bothered by the view of turbines out in the ocean.

“Many of the responses indicated they would find somewhere else to go,” he said. “We’re not the only shore community in New Jersey, so if they don’t like the idea of seeing turbines, they will go to another place, and that could hurt our tourist economy.”

Stern said the coalition is also working on a proposed lawsuit that he said has a very strong legal foundation.

“Legal precedents have already been set by our sister organizations in Massachusetts who filed suit this summer,” he said. “Again, to be very clear, we are proponents of sensible approaches to alternative and renewable energy. However, nothing about the most visible modern wind turbine complex in the world, running along the entire coast of LBI, directly in the path of endangered whale migration, and reducing wind speed which will increase temperatures on LBI, makes sense. Our goal is to force the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to place the turbines out of sight in an area with much less environmental impact and stronger energy potential, according to the bureau’s own studies.”

Stern also said the coalition is seeking volunteers to help bring local awareness to the cause, such as last summer when people distributed flyers to many homes on the Island

Following his presentation, resident Suzanne Fairlie asked whether Stern had tried to give the issue national attention through the Sierra Club or by appearing on “60 Minutes.”

“I’m going to sign up to help,” she said.

Stern said more information on the coalition is available on its website, savelbi.org.

Source:  Beach Haven Hears Wind Farm Update | By Eric Englund | The SandPaper | October 20, 2021 | www.thesandpaper.net

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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