New Jersey sued by anti-wind energy advocates over Long Beach Island wind farm decision

Three organizations opposed to the New Jersey wind farm project filed a lawsuit against the state on April 26, ABC News reported.

According to ABC News, Save Long Beach Island, Defend Brigantine Beach and Protect Our Coast NJ have launched a legal challenge to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's approval of the Atlantic Shores offshore wind farm project. They filed their lawsuit in the appeals court, claiming the project did not meet federal coastal protection standards.

Located off the coast of Long Beach Island, the Atlantic Shores project is one of three planned wind farms in New Jersey that have received preliminary approval. The lawsuit filed by these groups represents the latest attempt to halt the state's ambitions to become a leader in offshore wind energy development on the East Coast, the outlet reported.

Bruce Afran, an attorney for anti-wind groups, criticized New Jersey's permitting process.

“The approval conflicts with the federal regulator’s environmental impact statement, which states that the Atlantic Shores project will harm marine habitat, compact and harden the seabed, harm marine communities, threaten migration corridors for endangered species and lead to the decline of commercial fishing stocks,” Das said Afran in a statement, ABC News reported. (RELATED: What Has California's War on Fossil Fuels Actually Achieved?)

Joshua Henne, a political strategist who supports climate change initiatives, claimed that opposition to wind power projects is secretly supported by the fossil fuel industry. “There's nothing grassroots about this effort,” he told ABC News. “It’s artificial turf sown by the fossil fuel industry.”

Smoke from the Newell Road Fire near Goldendale, Washington is seen amid wind turbines in Bickleton, Washington, USA, July 22, 2023. REUTERS/Matt Mills McKnight

Robin Shaffer, president of Protect Our Coast, denied any financial ties to the fossil fuel sector. “We have never taken a dime from any company associated with the fossil fuel industry,” he said, according to ABC News, “not one.”

Jason Ryan, a spokesman for the American Clean Power Association, defended the thoroughness of the planning and analysis behind the wind projects. He expressed confidence that their approvals would withstand legal challenges. Meanwhile, the controversy continues as New Jersey seeks more proposals for offshore wind projects with the goal of achieving 100% clean energy production by 2035, ABC News reported.

Anna Harden

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