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Offshore wind again took center stage in this week’s news. The Cape May County Board of County Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution detailing the county’s opposition to Danish firm Ørsted’s offshore wind projects. The resolution put a spotlight on the potential economic harm the wind farm initiative could have on the area’s tourism economy, totaling to $1.1 billion in lost revenue.
The resolution outlined the county’s efforts to reach a compromise with Ørsted. It spoke of inflexibility on the part of the wind energy company and asserted that Ørsted used state–appointed boards and agencies to overrule duly elected officials at municipal and county levels. The resolution promised an ongoing struggle, with 10 of 16 county municipalities joining in the opposition.
Meanwhile, Ørsted, which, in January, bought out its American partner Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) in the Ocean Wind I project, announced this week that it would purchase the 50% share for its American utility partner, Eversource, in a large wind farm lease area 25 miles off the coast of Massachusetts.
As this happens, more dolphin fatalities washed up on county beaches leading to yet another call from 50 New Jersey mayors for a halt to offshore wind activities until the source of the sea mammal deaths can be identified.
The national consulting firm McKinsey issued a report that said, “Even in a high-renewables grid, the supply of energy will be inconsistent – reflecting the variability of renewable resources. Non-renewables will be needed to fill that gap to secure a reliable source of energy.”
McKinsey’s answer simply stated is that “nuclear power can play a significant role in the search for energy resilience.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) presented its forecast for this year’s hurricane season. NOAA calls for 12-17 named storms. Of those, five to nine could become hurricanes, including one to four major hurricanes of category 3 or better. That is a call for what one might term an average season, the average being 14 named storms, seven hurricanes, and three major storms. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
Before seeing these forecasts as a reprieve from what could have been, recall that 2022 had only two category 3 or better storms, but one of those was Ian. Only Katrina in 2005 caused more insured losses than Ian.
The Atlantic Basin storm names are available for 2023, beginning with Arlene and running to Whitney.
Render Unto Caesar
A supreme court ruling in the case of Tyler v. Hennepin County may make it more difficult for New Jersey to continue a practice many feel is unfair.
The unanimous decision of the court, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, ruled against Hennepin County, Minnesota. The case involved 94-year-old Geraldine Taylor who alleged the county took her condo home in foreclosure for a tax debt of $2,000 and then sold the home for $40,000 and pocketed the whole thing.
The court ruled, “The taxpayer must render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, but no more.”
The ruling said the taxpayer who loses more than the taxes owed and fees and interest has made a greater payment to the public than what was owed.
This case is of special interest in New Jersey, where the same practice of taking all the proceeds of a sale of tax–foreclosed homes is common. New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin submitted an amici brief, with Oregon, supporting Hennepin County.
Defending that practice going forward just became more difficult.
Residents are calling for more food service during beachgoing hours in Avalon. The push is to have the borough relax its regulations on food trucks.
ATVs are becoming an unwelcomed part of life in Upper Township, just as the state attorney general issued new guidance clarifying state law on the improper use of off-road vehicles (ORVs) and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in parks, preserves, and other protected natural spaces, as well as on public streets, seeking to raise awareness among law enforcement about available laws and regulations for citing violators.
The test results show that the recent March bird kill in Lower Township was not due to bird flu. What killed so many birds in one area remains a mystery.
Sea Isle City introduced a new flood damage prevention ordinance, which the city expects will earn enough Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) points to allow Sea Isle to regain its Community Rating System (CRS) level 3 status in October. Meanwhile, neighboring Avalon announced that its level 3 status was renewed. Both towns say they are setting their sights on gaining a level 2 designation.
Investigators are turning to artificial intelligence software in the 30–year–old cold case of Mark Himebaugh.
Avalon has adopted a tree dedication program as a new option for those who wish to have a memorial to a loved one. The bench dedication process had become too successful, with the borough becoming “over benched.”
A teen surfer was bitten by a shark off a Stone Harbor beach. The 15-year-old surfer received lacerations to her foot, which were treated at the scene before transport to the hospital.
Plea negotiations in a criminal case brought against a county investigator are at an impasse. The investigator allegedly launched an unauthorized investigation into a parking lot fender bender.
The defendant in a fatal hit-and-run accident that killed an 80-year-old pedestrian pleaded guilty in court May 17. The plea is open, meaning there is no recommended sentence negotiated between prosecutors and the defense lawyer.
The county has broken ground on a new $7.4 million airport terminal. The 5,400-square-foot terminal will contain offices, meeting space, aviation customer support areas, and a public lobby.
Avalon has applied for an emergency permit to dredge an area of Pennsylvania harbor that is presenting problems for safe navigation. Meanwhile, the state Department of Transportation (NJDOT) will dredge state channels along the Wildwoods beginning in early September.
A Pennsylvania man and woman were charged with weapons and other violations after a handgun tucked in the man’s waistband went off, wounding the man in the leg.
Donna Cancila Keating, of North Cape May, recently traveled to Rome, Italy, and returned as “Dame Donna” after she was knighted by Italian Duke Fabio Bevilacqua.
Spout of the Week
Court House – What is going on with affordable housing? Why is no housing available in the county? What are the legal, economic, and moral conclusions tenants and landlords could agree on that led to the collapse of housing for locals? Can housing even be fixed? Let’s examine what is happening in California and New Jersey to determine how to fix this mess. More importantly, our legislators must fix housing, by addressing the concerns of tenants and Landlords.
Read more spouts at spoutoff.capemaycountyherald.com.