Bob Stern, president of Save LBI, said it best: “We are not against wind; we just want it done right!” We all have been reading about the issues regarding offshore LBI wind projects, both pro and con.
Every one of the mayors on LBI has written strong letters opposing the near-shore construction of wind farms, primarily if the structures are visible from our pristine beaches. Fishermen are against the development due to habitat changes. As an example, look at the striped bass fishery. Current regulations dictate that striped bass can be fished only up to 3 miles offshore. Building structures beyond that boundary would move the fish outside the allowable distance. This would be a major disaster since the striped bass fishery is both a major early and late season play. It would be lost.
LBI is a major tourist destination primarily during the summer beach season. In a recent survey conducted among 10,000 individuals who vacationed on the Island in the past, only 50% indicated they would plan another vacation to the Island if offshore wind turbines were visible from shore. And yet the Beach Haven Taxpayers’ Association is in favor of the projects.
Night visibility on the water under the best of circumstances is not great, and wind turbines would worsen that visibility, particularly during inclement weather including rain and fog and moon phases. Radar flutter is also a factor, and a British study indicated problems with defensive radar due to wind turbine interference.
The coastal area off the Island is a major migration path for whales. Washups of dead whales have been increasing, as have the cries to “save the whales.” Yet the immovable wind turbines would drive the migration closer to shore and increase the danger to whales. Bird migration also is important enough that areas on both the north and south ends of the Island are closed to people to protect nesting areas. At the same time, wind turbines are the fifth greatest killer of birds.
Meanwhile, there is a push to have the island forming in Little Egg Inlet preserved for nesting birds to the exclusion of boats, other watercraft and humans. This island, since its formation, has been instrumental in decreasing overcrowding at Tices Shoal, Party Island and the sedges with white sandy beaches. And yet the “save the whales” and “save the birds” people support wind projects.
Are donations by the wind farm developers buying support from unlikely sources? One way to find out might be to have these developers open their books to see where their donations are being concentrated. This release of information should include not-for-profits, non-governmental organizations, political campaigns and individual politicians.
Beach Haven West
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