Offshore Windmills for Energy?

Offshore Windmills for Energy? Citing a vital need for the State to understand the possible costs and benefits of offshore windmill facilities as an alternate energy source, Acting Governor Richard J. Codey today created a blue ribbon panel to study the issue – and ordered a freeze on funding and permitting of any offshore windmill projects during the panel’s 15-month study.

The blue ribbon panel will include nine members – six appointed by the Governor, representing environmental, academic, tourism and local government interests; and including the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, the President of the Board of Public Utilities, and the Chief Executive Officer and Secretary of the Commerce and Economic Growth Commission.

Currently, there are no offshore wind turbine projects in operation in the United States. The blue-ribbon panel will consider potential environmental benefits and impact; economic costs and benefits; and will make policy recommendations. The panel will compare such projects with other power sources in terms of New Jersey’s long-term electricity needs.

“Today’s action ensures that no offshore wind turbine facilities will be constructed for the next 15 months off New Jersey’s shore,” Acting Governor Codey said. “The Blue Ribbon Panel will take this time to study the appropriateness of offshore wind turbines facilities. This issue raises important questions about how we will deal with global warming and air pollution levels; and how we will utilize one of our most precious resources – the Jersey Shore. It is time for us to hear from the public.”

Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action, said, “Governor Codey’s action is a responsible and reasonable approach that sets a national model. The issues are significant, and a learned and careful study is warranted.”

Acting Governor Codey created the panel by Executive Order. The Order mandates that the blue ribbon panel will report to the Governor within 15 months. The Order requires that, during the 15 months, the Board of Public Utilities will not fund any offshore windmill facilities, and the Department of Environmental Protection will not approve the development of any such facilities.

The panel’s six public members appointed by the Acting Governor are:
* Edward McKenna, Mayor of Red Bank and a member of the State Planning Commission. Mr. McKenna will chair the blue ribbon panel.
* Timothy P. Dillingham of Hopewell, Executive Director of the American Littoral Society, and former Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.
* Theodore J. Korth, of Bordentown, Director of Policy for the New Jersey Audubon Society, and former Program Manager for Law and Policy at the Pinelands Preservation Alliance.
* Bonnie J. McCay, PhD, a Rutgers Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor at Cook College. She is currently Vice Chair of the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee, U.S. Department of Commerce and Department of Interior.
* Diane Wieland of Cape May Courthouse, Director of the Cape May County Department of Tourism, Chair of the Southern Shore Regional Tourism Council, and member of the Governor’s Tourism Advisory Council.
* Scott A. Weiner, Director of the Center for Energy, Economic and Environmental Policy at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers. He is a former Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection and President of the Board of Public Utilities.

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Author: Press Release--Office of the Governor

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