The following letter was submitted by Cindy Zipf, executive director and founder of environmental advocacy group Clean Ocean Action. It concerns a plan to construct two major offshore wind energy developments about 40 to 50 miles offshore, separate from those that were canceled last year after investors backed out of the projects.
The letter appears below:
Our Ocean Deserves Better:
Climate change impacts require immediate actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, chief among them reducing energy use and waste. The government, however, is focusing on massive ocean industrialization beginning with offshore wind, transforming the ocean into giant power plants.
This, despite the industry being in economic and technological turmoil as seen in recent media coverage.
Consider the magnitude: millions of acres of ocean habitat filled with thousands of turbines as tall as the Chrysler building, over 10,000 miles of high voltage cables emitting electromagnetic fields. It is a never-before-seen scale of human industrial invasion and abuse of an ecosystem, which would never be allowed on land. The ocean deserves protection, after all, it is the planet’s best buffer against climate change.
Alarmingly, New Jersey recently announced it will double its already unreasonable offshore wind commitment, and the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced a plan to move even faster, expediting more offshore wind development by releasing their Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement on six lease areas impacting over 488,000 acres.
To be clear, Clean Ocean Action (“COA”) is not opposed to the idea of offshore wind (OSW), COA opposes the reckless scope, scale, and speed currently underway due to the lack of robust independent science, transparency, good governance, and due diligence. Our ocean deserves better—a fair pilot project, a cost/benefit analysis, and real public engagement.
Make your voice heard. This is a unique time as the government has opened opportunities for public comments on these projects. To find out more about BOEM’s public and in-person meetings, visit cleanoceanaction.org. Also, on February 20th, COA will hold a citizen hearing to ensure that comments can be publicly made and will be submitted for the record.
Some say that climate change is the greatest threat to marine life. That may be true, but this massive industrialization of offshore wind will only increase grave stress and harm to an already overburdened ecosystem. In fact, by BOEM’s own admission, “there would be no collective impact on global warming as a result of offshore wind projects.”
In sum, when has industrialization ever benefited the environment?