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Wind turbine lawsuit gains ground as officials take stand  

Credit:  Wind Turbine Lawsuit Gains Ground as Officials Take Stand | By Gina G. Scala | The SandPaper | February 16, 2022 | www.thesandpaper.net ~~

Next week, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will auction off 488,201 acres in the New York Bight, an area that encompasses two offshore wind leases about 50 nautical miles from the shores of Long Beach Island. As Feb. 23 draws near, LBI opposition grows stronger as officials throw their support behind a lawsuit challenging whether the agency complied with two federal environmental acts during its selection process for turbine placement.

“I stand in strong support of the Long Beach Island lawsuit that will force the reevaluation of proposed offshore wind farms on our shorelines,” Congressman Jeff Van Drew (R-2nd) wrote in a paid advertisement also endorsed by Barnegat Light, Beach Haven, Harvey Cedars, Long Beach Township, Ship Bottom and Surf City. “The offshore wind development taking place off Long Beach Island is too big of a project that is being pushed forward without understanding the full effects these wind turbines will have on the fishing industry, tourism in the region and the environment.”

The proposed project off LBI would, to date, place up to 200 Vesta-236 gearbox turbines, standing 853 to 1,046 feet above sea level, 9 to 20 miles offshore, officials said in their public support of the Jan. 10 lawsuit filed by Save Long Beach Island, known locally as LBI Coalition of Wind Without Impact.

“It would (1) scar our shore by creating the largest, closest, and most visible large turbine wind complex in the world reducing our tourism, rentals and local employment, (2) potentially block the essential migration of the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale from operational turbine noise, (3) likely force endangered fin and humpback whales trying to avoid the turbine noise to shore causing beach stranding,” the officials said in their notice. It continued, “(4) potentially decimate the threatened piping plover bird population here that would now have to cross the turbine complex to nest in its protected areas on the Island, and (5) may interfere with defense readiness operations by its location in a Department of Defense designated turbine exclusion zone.”

Just last week, Surf City Councilman Peter Hartney said there is discussion about filing an amicus curiae (literally, friend of the court) brief in support of the lawsuit.

“A person(s) with strong interest in or views on the subject matter of an action, but not a party to the action, may petition the court for permission to file a brief, ostensibly on behalf of the party,” according to the legal definition of amicus curiae.

Such a brief provides interested parties the ability to present their own argument on the matter. Amicus curiae briefs can be filed by private individuals or a government.

In its suit, the coalition cited BOEM’s failure to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act and the U.S. Endangered Species Act during its selection process for turbine placement.

“The lawsuit contends the selection of the larger ‘wind energy areas’ within which turbines are to be placed should have been preceded and supported by a structural regional environmental impact statement (EIS) process with full public input, something the borough has called for in the past,” Harvey Cedars Mayor Jonathan Oldham wrote in his Feb. 1 letter to Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

When contacted about the support from Van Drew and local officials, Bob Stern, coalition president, said the nonprofit is grateful.

“We would also like to give special thanks to Daina Dale, municipal clerk for Harvey Cedars, for coordinating the joint effort,” said Stern, a Beach Haven resident and former director of environmental compliance for the U.S. Department of Energy and a founding member of the coalition.

He said the coalition is expecting an initial response to the lawsuit from the federal government soon. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court, District of Columbia.

Source:  Wind Turbine Lawsuit Gains Ground as Officials Take Stand | By Gina G. Scala | The SandPaper | February 16, 2022 | 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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