(TheProudRepublic.com) – Thinking about the potential economic impact on its residents, Cape May County in New Jersey and a group of stakeholders have filed a federal lawsuit against Joe Biden and his administration.
The lawsuit challenges the proposed construction of a large offshore wind farm off the county’s coast. It also claims that the government has prioritized the interests of major wind energy corporations over environmental protection.
Cape May County Board of Commissioners Director Len Desiderio expressed disappointment in the approval process of the Ocean Wind 1 project, which the Danish energy company Orsted is developing. Desiderio stated, “Our reasonable proposals fell on deaf ears as state and federal regulators rubber-stamped permits to rush the Ocean Wind 1 project to approval.” He further added, “We believe the federal permitting process was fatally flawed… This suit brings together important stakeholders in Cape May County willing to fight to protect our economy, our environment and our future.”
The lawsuit contends that offshore wind projects, like Ocean Wind 1, are being approved hastily without thorough consideration of potential economic and environmental impacts. The plaintiffs want the court to halt Orsted’s permits and mandate a revision of the process to ensure that key environmental and economic concerns are addressed.
Michael Donohue, Cape May County’s special counsel for offshore wind, remarked on the bipartisan concerns regarding the negative implications of offshore wind projects. He said, “… constructing this project and all of the other proposed offshore wind projects… will have no positive impact on climate change or reducing global warming.”
The Ocean Wind 1 project’s roots trace back to the Obama administration when wind energy development leases were awarded in 2015. The approval process started in March 2021, with Orsted’s construction plan getting the nod recently. The combined Ocean Wind 1 and Ocean Wind 2 projects will feature almost 200 wind turbines spread over 161,000 acres in the Atlantic Ocean near Cape May County. These turbines will be visible from all the county’s beaches.
The projects will have transmission lines and a substation in Cape May County. While Ocean Wind 1 is set to be operational by 2025, Ocean Wind 2 will follow later. Despite negotiations with Orsted since 2021, the county believes the project will not significantly impact climate change. Moreover, they foresee a potential 15% drop in tourism, resulting in major economic losses and negative effects on marine wildlife. In May, the county unanimously voted against the Ocean Wind project.
Orsted’s stakeholder relations manager, Tom Suthard, responded to the county’s opposition, emphasizing the company’s commitment to New Jersey’s renewable energy goals and promising job creation and economic opportunities.
Cape May County is located at the southern tip of New Jersey, encompasses 16 different jurisdictions, and is home to roughly 95,000 residents. The Department of the Interior has not yet provided a comment on the matter.