Gov. Christie Piles On Atlantic City With Off-Shore Wind Farm Bill Veto

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Environment New Jersey

Trenton – Gov. Chris Christie, in his latest act of disavowing his own commitments to build off-shore wind, has once again vetoed legislation to require the BPU to provide a 30-day window for applications for an off-shore wind project off Atlantic City. The legislation (S988/A3903) co-sponsored by Sen. Whelan (D-2), Sen. Smith (D-17), Asm. Mazzeo (D-2), Asm. DeAngelo (D-14) and Asm. Eustace (D-38) passed the Senate by a 23-11 vote and the Assembly by a 53-21 vote in March. The bill would directly benefit Fishermen’s’ Energy, a Cape May County-based company that has proposed a 25MW project off Atlantic City.

Both the Legislature and the governor approved a plan for the state’s first major offshore wind farm in 2010. The Fishermen’s Energy’s long-delayed project, would construct 25-megawatt wind farm three miles off Atlantic City, could generate more than 500 jobs to the area, already received a $47 million Department of Energy grant and could be constructed in only two years.

Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey, released the following statement:

“Gov. Christie keeps getting it wrong on off-shore wind. Even innocuous legislation to allow for an application to the BPU gets deep-sixed by his veto pen. This legislation would have given a second chance for the Fishermen’s Energy project to reapply to the BPU. Instead, Gov. Christie’s veto only makes it more likely that we’ll watch off-shore wind be built off the coasts of other states during his term.

The Legislature spoke with a united, bipartisan voice to support this modest step forward for off-shore wind. It’s time for the Legislature – and all the members who supported this legislation – to unite to override the Governor’s veto. We need to build a path for New Jersey to become the off-shore wind leader that will finally lead up to our potential. It’s time to start by building the Atlantic City wind farm.

The Fishermen’s Energy project will help to jumpstart off-shore wind in New Jersey. Gov. Christie signed legislation more than five years ago to move forward on off-shore wind – he shouldn’t walk away from a project that his own Ratepayer Counsel supported, will provide an economic shot in the arm for Atlantic City and expand clean energy off the Jersey Shore. Off-shore wind is not a four letter word, and we urge the Legislature to override the Governor on this legislation.

Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center released Turning to the Wind, in January, documenting that New Jersey’s near-term potential for wind power is the highest on the East Coast. Using data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the report shows that as much as 1,700 MW of wind power could be built in the state in the next 5 years with the right policies in place, enough to power more than half a million homes and eliminate more than 5 million metric tons of carbon pollution. The current expansion of off-shore wind has been stymied by the Christie Administration’s BPU, which has consistently failed to move forward on off-shore wind since Gov. Christie signed legislation in 2010.

More than 1.5 million acres off the Atlantic Coast – including close to 344,000 acres off the Jersey Shore – have already been designated by state and federal officials for off-shore wind power development and more are being considered. These total areas of off-shore wind development could equal as much as 16 fossil-fuel burning power plants—making offshore wind an attractive option for states developing plans to shift to clean energy to achieve the targets in Clean Power Plan, recently finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last August.”