New Jersey governor signs bill ending local control of wind power lines

Source: By Associated Press • Posted: Sunday, July 25, 2021

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey’s governor has signed a measure that would remove most local control from where and how offshore wind energy projects come ashore.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy announced the move in a prepared statement sent out Thursday night.

Aside from granting local communities a public hearing on an offshore project that comes ashore in their town, the measure strips those communities and their elected officials of most, if not all control over where and how the project’s power lines and associated infrastructure are installed onshore.

It does require that power lines run underground in most cases, but sets up a mechanism where the state BPU can approve a project if local authorities delay or obstruct it.

Some shore communities including Ocean City have vocally opposed the bill. After some community officials objected to the bill last month during a hearing in the state Assembly, a provision was added that requires a public hearing on a proposed project.

The most commonly voiced objections from opponents include the unknown effect hundreds or even thousands of wind turbines might have on the ocean, fears of higher electric bills as costs are passed on to consumers, and a sense that the entire undertaking is being rushed through with little understanding of what the consequences might be.