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article imageReport Finds N.J. Coast Windmills Could Impact Marine Life

By Michael Krebs     Mar 7, 2009 in Environment
312-page report from New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection warns that proposed coastal wind farms will adversely affect marine life - a challenge to Corzine and some environmental groups.
The New Jersey Sierra Club is at a crossroads. The group, a chapter of the national environmental organization, would like to see carbon emissions from fossil fuel sources reduced and the state's reliance on non-renewable energy sources diminished. However, they acknowledge that the installation of windmills along the New Jersey coast - proposed by Governor Corzine - will disrupt already-stressed marine habitats.
And now a report from New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection underscores the risks to marine animals roaming the Atlantic corridor.
According to The Star-Ledger, the report states that "wind farms may limit recreational and commercial fishing and boating, disrupt marine life because of the current running through large electrical lines and temporarily destroy fish habitats as they are constructed."
The release of the report stoked criticism of Governor Corzine's clean energy pursuit. Critics have argued that the local ocean ecology will be affected in a long-term manner. The Corzine plan calls for windmill installation 20 miles off shore, supplying the energy needs for approximately 375,000 homes.
"This report again raises a red flag that there are a number of natural resources that would be affected by a large scale industrial windmill development, and that caution is being thrown to the wind by the Corzine administration," Tim Dillingham of the American Littoral Society, an ocean and avian conservation group, told The Star-Ledger.
The New Jersey Sierra Club supports the construction and cites examples in Europe, where birds and other marine animals eventually go around the windmills and avoid them altogether.
But the DEP analysis came to a different conclusion with regard to birds. "The collision of birds with wind turbines is one of the most recognized ecological impacts surrounding the use of wind energy," the report stated.
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