A group of nearly two dozen New Jersey lawmakers and environmental groups were among the signers of a letter to the president asking for the swift development of offshore wind projects along the Atlantic seaboard.
Among the 122 signers of the letter were representatives of 18 states and several national environmental organizations.
“For the sake of our environment and the hope of building a truly clean energy economy in America, we must see numerous wind farms spinning off our shores within the next few years – and we need your help to make that vision a reality,” the letter, dated March 7, said.
Among the requests outlined by the group are a “bold goal” for offshore wind power development in the Atlantic, coordination by federal and state officials to identify high priority areas for wind power development, the creation of standards for natural resource protection specifically geared toward wind power development, the mitigation of any conflicts with recreational and commercial ocean users, that permitting of natural energy sources “takes into account the benefits to the environment from the proposed project” and that federal financial investments to spur offshore wind development continue to grow until the technology is well established.
Matt Elliott, Clean Energy Advocate for Environment New Jersey said the letter stands in support of the Obama Administration’s efforts to bring offshore wind power to the east coast.
“Our goal is to show that the environmental community supports offshore wind,” Elliott said. We’ve seen President Obama and the administration make some announcements about how they want to speed up the process. We want to show them that the environmental community is behind them.
Elliott said for a time, attention turned away from offshore wind power as the administration dealt with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. As that attentions shifts back, the hope is, wind power will become a priority.
“Offshore wind alone has the potential to power America four times over,” Elliott said. “By harnessing the vast, untapped wind resources off our coast, we can reduce global warming emissions, create well-paid, local jobs, and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.”
Signers from New Jersey:
American Jewish Committee of New Jersey
Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC)
Atlantic County Utilities Authority
Byram Township Deputy Mayor Scott Olson
Environment New Jersey
Grandmothers Mothers and More for Energy Safety (GRAMMES)
Musconetcong Mountain Conservancy
New Jersey Audubon Society
New Jersey Environmental Federation
New Jersey Highlands Coalition
New Jersey Work Environment Council
NJ Assemblyman John McKeon
NJ Assemblyman Samuel Thompson
NJ Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula
NJ Assemblywoman Connie Wagner
NJ Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver, Speaker of the Assembly
NJ State Senator Barbara Buono, Senate Majority Leader
NJ State Senator Loretta Weinberg
ResurgInt EcoLogical Sustainability Consultants
Sierra Club, NJ Chapter
South Branch Watershed Association
Sustainable Highlands New Jersey
Upper Raritan Watershed Association