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NJ Sierra Club: Murphy Admin Spins on Wind

586ea1811b00002b006e5bc6photo courtesy of Huffington Post 

Five turbines in the waters near Block Island, Rhode Island

TRENTON NJ (May 11, 2018)(CNBNewsnet)--New Jersey Governor Murphy has written to Secretary Zinke asking for a 180-day extension on the deadline for their “Commercial Leasing for Wind Power on the Outer Continental Shelf in the New York Bight Call for Information and Nominations.” Their reason for the delay is to “to assess impact of offshore wind farms on state’s main fishing grounds.” This contradicts the Governor’s promises to immediately jumpstart New Jersey’s offshore wind programs. He signed an Executive Order for 1100 MW of offshore wind with a long-term goal of 3500 MW by 2050 earlier this year. Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, released the following statement:

“After all these years of delay, the Murphy Administration is asking to delay offshore wind for 180 more days. The longer we delay, the longer we lose out on clean energy and green jobs for the entire region. Other states are leasing land on the Eastern Seaboard that we could be taking advantage of. Some of these places are directly off the coast of New Jersey such as Sea Bright and Seaside. While we wait six months, New York will take opportunities that New Jersey could have had. We’re also at risk of losing tax credits if we wait too long to lease areas for offshore wind. The Murphy Administration should be trying to establish New Jersey as a leader on offshore wind, not delaying it even longer.

“We are concerned about this letter asking for a delay because it seems like the Murphy Administration is siding with the commercial fishing industry and anti-wind advocates. The large-scale fishing industry is opposing offshore wind for unfounded reasons and it seems like the Murphy Administration is going along with it. Not only does this contradict their campaign promises, but it’s incorrect. Contrary to what their letter says, offshore wind will not hurt fisheries or our fishing economy. Establishing offshore wind will actually improve New Jersey’s economy, as well as our environment and public health. We should be working with New York to develop offshore wind, not siding with the claims of the fishing industry and delaying this important opportunity.

“New Jersey needs to get moving on offshore wind. We’ve been delayed by Chris Christie and we need to make up for lost time. Delaying offshore wind projects any longer will cost our state jobs, renewable energy, and venture capital investments. We do not need to spend any more time on meetings, we need to get the rules and regulations in place and start building. We have been lagging behind for 8 years and this is the first real step the state is taking in trying to make offshore wind a reality. Offshore wind projects will take years to build so we need to get the finances, studies, impacts assessments done now.

“Offshore wind will provide electricity and jobs to places where it’s needed most. It’s important that we are moving forward not only on financial rules, but on working with other states, talking to stakeholders and creating strategic plans. This will move us forward when it comes to clean energy and green jobs. Offshore wind is the most reliable and cost-effective form of offshore power. Wind energy is renewable and clean. It will help us create thousands of jobs in a variety of fields including construction and operation.

“We can work towards our current goal of 1100 MW and hopefully get the process going for 3500 MW of offshore wind by 2030. We’ve done studies to find the best places for wind that have the least environmental impacts six years ago. Offshore wind off our coast could feasibly power 1.2 million homes with clean energy. New Jersey has enough potential of offshore wind to meet 1/3 of our electrical needs. New Jersey needs to pursue policies to facilitate the construction of wind turbines off our coast.  We can grow our economy and create jobs while protecting our environment and now the Federal Government’s auctions will push us closer to that possibility.”

“We have to make sure we’ll planning and spending with comprehensive legislation in the right way to maximize our potential for offshore wind power, otherwise we’ll just be spinning our wheels. We need to get the finances, studies, impact assessments in place now to jumpstart the manufacturing of wind turbines in our state, and to develop windmills off our coast. Every day of talk is another day of more greenhouses and lost jobs. We have a climate crisis, we have to move quickly.”

“Governor Murphy signed an Executive Order to move forward on offshore wind and we’re concerned that this letter will undermine those efforts. All we’re doing with this request is fueling the anti-wind forces. Instead of asking to delay, New Jersey should have requested more information in how our own state can benefit from some of these New York Bight sites. Governor Murphy is undermining our offshore wind abilities with this letter. New Jersey can become a leader in offshore wind once again, but we can’t delay any longer. It’s not enough to talk about wind power, we must make it a reality.”