TRENTON – A bill vetoed conditionally today by Gov. Christie that would have allowed wind energy turbines on certain farmland was a contentious one as it moved through the committee process last year.
Sponsor Sen. Bob Smith, (D-17), Piscataway, said during a Senate Environment and Energy Committee hearing that the bill had been reworked and amended drastically.
Concerns about hours of operation and sound levels were among items addressed in A3992/S2887, Smith said, but it split along party lines with Republicans opposing it.
Sen. Jennifer Beck, (R-12), Red Bank, still had concerns, including with shadow “flicker’’ problems, although Smith had said there are provisions that mandate when the turbine must be turned off.
Other opposition came from the state Agriculture Development Committee, which argued the intent of the current law is to help owners of preserved farmland generate wind energy for agricultural operations. She feared the proposed law would allow large-scale wind companies to profit with non-agricultural operations.
And Jeff Tittel of the Sierra Club had said this bill would undercut public support for future open space referendums if voters got the feeling that public dollars were benefiting a select group of private interests.
But Smith acknowledged the competing issues and said there is a global warming problem, there are fossil fuel and nuclear energy concerns, and New Jersey has 153 miles of shoreline that can be made use of.