Sensible Development Rules Don't Require Project Moratorium, says NRDC

NEW YORK (December 23, 2004) -- New Jersey Governor Richard Codey's new task force on offshore wind energy development offers an important opportunity to ensure that clean energy projects proceed in the state without harming coastal habitats or marine ecosystems. But the moratorium on wind projects that he is expected to propose in the meantime is both a needless impediment and a poor precedent that could slow or stop important projects altogether, according to NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council).

"NRDC strongly supports appropriately sited offshore wind energy, so long as projects are consistent with protection of coastal habitats and living marine resources," said NRDC attorney Dale Bryk. "Creating effective, sensible environmental standards for the siting and operation of offshore wind farms will protect valuable public resources at the same time providing clarity for developers. But NRDC has consistently opposed moratoria on offshore wind projects because they place an unnecessary burden on a non-polluting source of energy while leaving developers of new coal-fired power plants or other polluting facilities free to move forward."

While a brief moratorium would probably not slow two proposed wind projects off the coast of the Garden State because both are still in their early stages, extended delays could disrupt these innovative efforts -- eliminating important health and environmental benefits to people throughout New Jersey and the Northeast.

"With solid standards in place New Jersey has a chance to become a national leader by generating energy without the pollution that causes acid rain, smog and global warming," Bryk said. "But a long drawn-out process will derail the state from the clean energy path it has ambitiously pursued in recent years. We urge the Governor to ensure a fair and efficient process that will allow New Jersey to meet its clean energy goals and protect the marine and coastal environment."