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The Shore Municipalities, Represented by Pashman Stein Walder Hayden P.C., Continue to Oppose Offshore Wind Projects and File Public Comment Letter with Board of Public Utilities


HACKENSACK, New Jersey (March 29, 2024) – Long Beach Township, Beach Haven, Ship Bottom, Barnegat Light, Surf City, Harvey Cedars, Brigantine, and Ventnor City (the Shore Municipalities), represented by Pashman Stein Walder Hayden P.C., continue to oppose offshore wind projects off of Long Beach Island and nearby shore towns, with the filing of a public comment letter on March 27 to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) addressing the BPU’s draft guidance for a fourth solicitation for offshore wind projects to be constructed off the New Jersey coast. Pashman Stein Chair and Managing Partner Michael S. Stein, Partner Frank Huttle and Partner Timothy P. Malone represent the Shore Municipalities.

The Shore Municipalities oppose those aspects of the guidance that invite re-bids from projects previously approved by the BPU, which the Shore Municipalities believe is targeted at permitting the Atlantic Shores project proposed for just nine miles off the coast to apply for and receive increased subsidies at the expense of New Jersey’s ratepayers. In the letter, the Shore Municipalities explain that BPU’s rules require that Atlantic Shores, and not the ratepayers, must be responsible for any increased costs in the project. If Atlantic Shores were to receive increased Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credit (OREC) pricing under the fourth solicitation, electricity rates would be substantially more than the prior BPU approval. The Shore Municipalities also submitted a recently-obtained analysis of the anticipated impact of the project on tourism, which estimates that the turbines would cause a $650 million annual economic loss, and a loss of more than 6,000 jobs. (See Exhibit D to the public comment letter.)

The Shore Municipalities further explain that an inflation adjustment of up to 15% included in the guidance to allow a developer to receive increased OREC pricing in the event of inflation is contrary to rules requiring flat pricing. 

In addition, the Shore Municipalities urge BPU to not repeat mistakes it made in prior awards, including:

  • using improper discount rates to overstate economic benefits and understate costs to ratepayers,
  • looking only at economic gains from the project and failing to take into account negative impacts on the Shore Municipalities, and
  • minimizing other negative environmental impacts on wildlife.

A proper economic analysis would conclude that the project does not have a net economic and environmental impact to New Jersey as required by the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act, and thus cannot be approved. 

In the event the BPU does proceed with the fourth solicitation nonetheless, the comment letter closes by urging the BPU to conduct an open review of applications, including disclosing and permitting comment on specific applications received, to remove the perception of backroom deals and predestined outcomes.

Huttle stated, “We believe that the proposed fourth solicitation guidance is inconsistent with BPU’s rules and that the BPU should not invite applications for higher subsidies at the expense of the Shore Municipalities and New Jersey’s ratepayers. Atlantic Shores should not be permitted to walk away from the OREC pricing it agreed to and seek a greater subsidy from New Jersey’s ratepayers. We are hopeful that the BPU will address the issues identified in the Shore Municipalities’ comment letter, and we will continue to advocate for the economic and environmental interests of the diverse year-round communities of the Shore Municipalities.”

“The recent economic analysis submitted with our comment letter confirmed what we’ve long-stated – that the Atlantic Shores project will devastate the economies of the Shore Municipalities by deterring visitors and eliminating thousands of jobs,” said Joseph Mancini, Mayor of Long Beach Township. “We urge the BPU to change course and ensure any offshore wind projects are placed far enough out to avoid these drastic impacts.”

This letter follows the October 23, 2023 filing of a supplemental comment letter on behalf of Long Beach Township, Beach Haven, Ship Bottom, Barnegat Light, Surf City, Harvey Cedars (the “LBI Municipalities”), as well as Brigantine Beach, with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, which is separately considering whether the Atlantic Shores project is consistent with New Jersey’s coastal zone management rules. The initial comment letter was filed with NJDEP on June 29, 2023.

The case received media attention in the Asbury Park Press, which can be read here.

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