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Aug. 28-Sept. 3
Wind Losing Support in NJ
New Jersey’s offshore wind initiative is losing public support, according to recent polling results. A Monmouth University poll shows that while a majority of New Jerseyans (54%) still favor wind farm development, that number is down from 76% four years ago when the state published its Energy Master Plan. Opposition to the offshore wind energy effort has grown to 40% of state residents from just 15% in 2019.
Actions after the polling had already occurred could erode support even more. The Danish wind farm developer, Ørsted, announced that its North American offshore wind portfolio was hemorrhaging money to the tune of $2.5 billion in identified “impairments.”
Citing persistent supply chain challenges, high interest rates, and higher than expected inflation, Ørsted says it needs more public investment. Ørsted also acknowledged that the Ocean Wind I project is even further behind than it previously admitted, saying that the first massive wind farm off the New Jersey coast would not be ready until 2026.
Opposition to providing further tax credits is building in the state Legislature. Ørsted’s own characterization of its talks with federal officials is that things are “not progressing as we previously expected.” Yet, test activity for transmission cables under Ocean City streets is scheduled to begin Sept. 11.
Results of national polling by the Pew Research Center show continued support for renewables, with two-thirds of Americans saying the nation should prioritize the development of renewable energy sources and incentive programs.
Both polls point to the increasingly partisan nature of the debate. The Pew results argue that “perceptions are tied more strongly to people’s beliefs about climate change and this is linked increasingly to their partisan affiliation.”
Meanwhile, the first auctions for three offshore wind lease areas in the Gulf of Mexico received a tepid response. The offshore wind industry is recalculating costs and challenges. In an effort to put a rosy hue on the growing problem, the U.S. Department of Energy released three reports projecting strong growth in the wind energy sector, including offshore wind.
Both the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have stepped up warnings to Americans about a surge in illegally sold counterfeit prescription pills that may be laced with fentanyl or methamphetamines. The most common counterfeit pills resemble oxycodone pills.
The Sept. 1 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the CDC says, “Counterfeit pill availability in the United States is increasing; drug overdose deaths at historically high levels.”
These warnings follow similar warnings that a veterinary nonopioid sedative, xylazine, has been increasingly detected in illegally manufactured fentanyl and other drugs, again increasing the risk of overdose and death.
These developments come as overdose deaths in the county have begun to decline, in part due to the availability of naloxone. A problem with the appearance of xylazine on the scene is that the animal sedative is not an opioid and naloxone does not reverse its effects, according to the DEA.
A major problem with counterfeit pills is that those who use them may have no idea what they are being exposed to.
The drug overdose problem in New Jersey and Cape May County is still very real. Suspected drug deaths in New Jersey so far in 2023 are averaging over seven fatalities per day through Sept. 2. In Cape May County, state medical examiner data shows 25 suspected drug deaths so far this year, with half of those in July (seven) and August (five).
Storm Season Heats Up
Earlier this month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revised its forecast for the 2023 hurricane season just prior to a surge of storm activity in the Atlantic basin. The revised forecast called for a higher-than-normal storm season. There appears to be little doubt that is what we are getting.
As this is written, Katia has made her appearance as a tropical storm. We have used 11 of the names reserved for 2023 storms all before going into the peak hurricane month of September. So far, of the 11 named storms, three have become hurricanes, with two of those being major hurricanes. Average estimates of damage at this early point in the season are greater than $9 billion, almost all of which is attached to Hurricane Idalia’s passage over Florida and Georgia.
Climatologists are pretty confident that a subtropical depression – to be named Lee – headed for the Caribbean will gain sufficient strength.
The weather service sets the peak for the hurricane season as Sept. 10, with heavy activity throughout September and into mid-October common. The season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
Atlantic City Electric made a special effort to ensure the busy Labor Day weekend was not interrupted with a power outage in Wildwood. Local businesses have been hurt by repeated outages since the substation fire July 7.
Five Superior Court judges who furthered ideals of inclusion and community involvement were honored with portraits unveiled at the Cape May County Courthouse.
All but three of the county’s 16 municipalities raised local purpose tax rates in 2023. It was a challenging budget year, with state hikes in health insurance premiums, the loss of Covid funding, and record inflation.
Stone Harbor is one of the county’s richest communities, yet its budget shows persistent vulnerabilities that expose taxpayers to potential tax increases in the future.
The federal government has identified 11 possible locations for the housing of asylum-seeking migrants who have run out of space in New York City. One location on the list is the Atlantic City Airport.
E. Marie Hayes was sworn in as county surrogate, a position she will have to defend in a contested race in November.
The Nov. 7 general election has 14 candidates running for three seats on the Wildwood Board of Commissioners, including Mayor Pete Byron, who the state attorney general is trying to remove as mayor.
An Avalon home is under construction. If it sells for the $25 million asking price, it will be the most expensive home sale ever in the borough. Meanwhile, Avalon has a plan for improvements at its 8th Street sports complex that pleases both pickleball and tennis enthusiasts.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined Ferguson Contracting, of Yardley, Pennsylvania, $18,000, as a result of a fatal February accident at the Spinnaker Condominiums in Sea Isle City.
A Villas family is looking for the silver lining behind the dark and stormy cloud that is childhood cancer. Despite his illness, the active 5-year-old hopes to begin kindergarten this fall.
Two men were arrested in Court House, with over 800 bags of heroin and a half-ounce of cocaine. The heroin was confirmed to contain fentanyl and xylazine, which increases the psychotropic effects of the heroin, but also raises the risk of overdose and death.
Three county municipalities get a total of $26 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants, including $24 million for improvements to the Cape May City seawall.
For Middle Township Volunteer Fire Company No. 1, the newest effort at recruitment of new members is ‘Friday Night At The Firehouse.’
Spout Off of the Week
Cape May – Why not build a multi level parking garage at the Cape May Elementary School. First level during all school hours is reserved for teachers and staff. Bottom line is that City of Cape May has a parking issue, and with all of the success of down town businesses, airbnb’s, vrbo’s, and investment properties, these additional cars will simply continue to drive around looking for a parking space. The City utilizes the free trolley pick up, stop acting as if 50,000+ people aren’t already here.
Read more spouts at spoutoff.capemaycountyherald.com.