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Protect Our Coast Group Rallies Opponents of Wind Farm

Protect Our Coast Group Rallies Opponents of Wind Farm

By Vince Conti

WIND FARM FILE PHOTO.png
Anton Havelaar/Shutterstock.com

OCEAN CITY – Protect Our Coast New Jersey, a nonprofit organization that has prominently fought offshore wind projects in the state, is calling for opposition to pending federal authorizations for the Atlantic Shores I project, located off the coast between Atlantic City and Barnegat Light.

With the withdrawal of the Danish firm Orsted from its Ocean Wind I and II projects, Atlantic Shore I stands as the largest offshore wind project in the state. The project, a joint venture partnership between Shell New Energies US LLC and EDF-RE Offshore Development LLC (a subsidiary of EDF Renewables North America), is scheduled to begin construction this year and to deliver its first power in 2027.

In its release, Protect Our Coast asserts that the Atlantic Shores project endangers the coastal and near-shore marine ecosystem. Protect Our Coast spokesperson Robin Schaffer says, “There are myriad problems with the applications presented before NOAA Fisheries, not the least of which is that Atlantic Shores is just a shell company for French and Dutch energy companies.”

Protect Our Coast claims that there is “mounting evidence that previous survey work done on behalf of the offshore wind industry caused injury and death to hundreds of whales and dolphins over a seven-year period from 2016-2023.”

The release calls for the public to comment on the pending Incidental Harassment Authorization, which provides federal authorization to harass or even injure certain marine mammals otherwise protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. It is most often issued for projects that produce underwater sound.

Comments should be addressed to Jolie Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service and should be submitted via email to ITP.clevenstine@noaa.gov.

“The ocean is at a tipping point, and endangered species like the North American right whale are already suffering. Industrialization of the ocean off the U.S. East Coast and the out-of-control underwater noise it will create will threaten this population with extinction,” the release says.

One of Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind’s core values is to be a good steward of the environment, according to its website. “We make sure our energy solutions are in harmony with the environment and nature around us,” the website states.

The Atlantic Shores website can be viewed at atlanticshoresewind.com. The Protect Our Coast New Jersey website can be viewed at protectourcoastnj.com.

Contact the author, Vince Conti, at vconti@cmcherald.com.

Reporter

Vince Conti is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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