Clean Ocean Action

Clean Ocean Advocate, April 2005

Blue Ribbon Panel on Offshore Windmill Facilities

     On December 23, 2004, Acting Governor Codey created a nine-member blue ribbon panel to study the possible costs and benefits of offshore windmill facilities as an alternate energy source and ordered a freeze on funding and permitting of any offshore windmill projects during the panel’s 15-month study.  The panel, which recently had its first meeting, includes Brad Campbell, NJDEP Commissioner; Jeanne Fox, President of the Board of Public Utilities; Virginia Bauer, Chief Executive Officer and Secretary of the Commerce and Economic Growth Commission; and six public members: Edward McKenna, Tim Dillingham, Theodore J. Korth, Bonnie McCay, PhD, Diane Wieland, and Scott Weiner. 

Group Challenges Offshore Wind Project in Nantucket Sound

     On 2001, Cape Wind Associates, LLC applied to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) for a navigability permit for an offshore data tower (preparing for an offshore wind project) in Horseshoe Shoals, Nantucket Sound.  This location is subject to federal jurisdiction and control under the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Lands Act.  Thereafter, ACOE issued a permit subject to conditions: data tower removed within five years, Cape Wind post a $300K bond for emergency repairs or removal, and data collected must be shared with government agencies and others.  The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound brought suit alleging that ACOE lacked proper authority to issue the permit, failed to comply with existing requirements under law, and that Cape Wind lacked property rights on OCS.  The district court held in favor of ACOE and Cape Wind.  The Alliance appealed.  In February 2005, the First Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed ACOE’s authority and stated a permit “is necessary for all structures on OCS.”  However, the Court did not state “whether such a permit is sufficient to authorize building on the federally controlled OCS.””

     What does this mean for New Jersey?  ACOE can, and indeed must, issue a permit for the installation of any structure on OCS off the Jersey shore.  However,  it is not known whether the ACOE permit, by itself, allows construction on OCS.

EPA Review of Draft Environmental Impacts of Cape Wind Project

     On February 24, EPA commented on ACOE’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Cape Wind energy project in Nantucket Sound.  In doing so, EPA rated the DEIS as “Category 3-Inadequate” and requested that ACOE prepare a supplemental DEIS and make it available for public comment.  While noting that the facility would help the region meet state and federal goals focused on renewable energy production and air quality, EPA states, “[w]e do not believe that the DEIS provides enough information to fully characterize baseline environmental conditions, the substantial impacts of the proposed project, and alternatives that avoid or minimize those impacts.  Without this information we do not believe an adequate mitigation and monitoring plan can be developed, nor can a decision be made as to whether the project is environmentally acceptable and in the public interest.”  For EPA’s further details about the inadequacies, go to


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