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GOP lawmaker torches offshore wind projects, mayor warns of ‘Star Wars’ backdrop

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After Atlantic Coast lawmakers came together for a hearing on offshore wind projects, one of the participants told Fox News that the projects are a danger to the economy, public safety and tourism.

Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a Republican from Cape May, N.J., where offshore wind projects have been floated, told Fox News the major takeaway from the hearing was that there is “nothing good” about offshore wind projects. He and fellow New Jersey Rep. Christopher Smith of Toms River took part in an Ocean City, Md., hearing hosted by Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., who represents Maryland’s entire Eastern Shore.

Van Drew told “The Story” on Wednesday one major area that offshore wind projects will adversely affect is the food supply, specifically seafood.

AT SEA - JULY 07: Wind turbines generate electricity at the Block Island Wind Farm on July 07, 2022 near Block Island, Rhode Island. The first commercial offshore wind farm in the United States is located 3.8 miles from Block Island, Rhode Island in the Atlantic Ocean. The five-turbine, 30 MW project was developed by Deepwater Wind and began operations in December, 2016 at a cost of nearly $300 million. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Wind turbines generate electricity at the Block Island Wind Farm (John Moore/Getty)

New Jersey has a longstanding clamming industry and fishing is key to the state’s recreational and economic benefit.

“I’ve never seen a project so bad as these projects are. It’s going to hurt our supply chain of food. It’s going to hurt the fishermen – literally it’s going to harm the seafood. It certainly is going to hurt the environment,” Van Drew said.

Van Drew warned that besides the installation of turbines, the lubricants used in them are dangerous to fish.

“You know what’s the worst of it? Your utility costs are going to go up, and not a little bit. And that’s not just for people who live along the shoreline. It’s going to be for everybody,” he said.

Van Drew added that, with wind power being popular in Europe, one test that continent hasn’t had is the hurricane test. He noted it is the American coast that bears the brunt of most Atlantic hurricanes, so windpower installations have yet to be truly tested by nature’s summertime fury.

He added that wealthy global executives will reap most of the benefits of wind turbine installations, and that they continue to be a “bad deal for America [and] New Jersey.”

Van Drew also cited the recent pullout by Danish green power company Ørsted from New Jersey’s coast despite the full support of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy and taxpayer funding, “they still couldn’t make it.”


“They’re just going to rape the taxpayer or the utility payer for something that’s actually bad for us: It’s harmful,” he said.

Harris, like Van Drew, has long been an opponent of offshore wind projects in his district, saying in a recent statement that such projects now have bipartisan opposition and may be causing the “death and stranding of dozens of whales and marine mammals off the Atlantic Coast.”

Rep. Andy Harris, who is the Old Line State’s lone Republican in Congress, also faulted Maryland Democratic Gov. Wes Moore for his staunch support for appropriating state funds for such projects.

At the forum he hosted, several experts and activists also spoke out against offshore wind projects.

WindAction Group executive director Lisa Linowes warned North Atlantic Right Whales are on the verge of extinction and that it will take too long to understand the “level of impact” wind installations have, and that it “will be too late.”

“The U.S. East Coast is a migratory corridor for many species of large baleen whales, including the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale,” added Meghan Lapp, a liaison for Seafreeze Fisheries in Rhode Island.

A noise control expert, Robert Rand, also spoke at the hearing, saying in part that offshore wind development also brings noise pollution that affects marine life:

“It’s too loud,” he said.


In addition, Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan criticized plans for offshore development in Maryland, warning of tourism repercussions, including the fact his is the only municipality in the state where one can view the sunrise over the ocean.

“What is being proposed would destroy what 26,000 property owners and millions of visitors enjoy today and for future generations,” Meehan said, according to DelmarvaNow.

“The sunrise over the Atlantic would look like a backdrop from ‘Star Wars.’”

For his part, Moore has remained supportive of offshore wind development, announcing last October a $6 million appropriation in the Maryland Offshore Wind Grant Program Portfolio to help businesses get involved with the wind industry.


“Offshore wind energy production holds immense promise for Maryland, both in terms of the clean power it can produce and the well-paying jobs it stands to create,” Moore said at the time.

In November, when Ørsted backed out of New Jersey, its Americas division executive expressed “extreme disappoint[ment].”

The move left Murphy incensed, as the Democratic governor said in a statement he would direct his administration to review its “legal rights and remedies” in regard to the matter.

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