New Jersey Offshore Wind Projects Face Opposition

Local critics of Gov. Phil Murphy’s plan to install hundreds of wind turbines off the New Jersey coast plan to sue the state to stop or delay the projects, citing aesthetic, environmental, and economic concerns.

1 minute read

February 23, 2023, 7:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

View of empty beach with wooden fishing pier going out into Atlantic Ocean at sunset in New Jersey

Mike Ver Sprill / Fishing pier, New Jersey

Half of New Jersey’s electricity could be powered by offshore wind energy by 2035 under a plan put into motion by Governor Phil Murphy in 2018. As Jared Brey explains in Governing, the plan more recently calls for 100 percent clean energy by 2050 and has led to three offshore wind projects approved so far.

While offshore wind is “broadly popular” among New Jersey residents, local leaders in some coastal communities worry that the turbines will impact the state’s fishing industry, marine ecosystem, and tourism. Most complaints are directed at the visual impact of having the turbines within view, with opponents saying the visibility of the turbines could irreparably alter the character of the New Jersey coast. Some also claim surveying related to the wind projects could be related to several recent whale deaths in the area, a claim categorically denied by scientists and environmental groups.

At least two non-governmental opposition groups are preparing lawsuits against the state to stop the wind projects, and some municipalities have left the legal option open. “For now, the state is firmly in the driver’s seat. In addition to Murphy’s executive orders, the state Legislature approved laws allowing state authorities to bypass certain local approvals when it’s ‘reasonably necessary’ to pursuing the wind program.”

Tuesday, February 21, 2023 in Governing

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