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BRSA Wind Turbine Project Halted by Union Beach Injunction

Delivery of the turbine components was scheduled to begin Monday

The New Jersey Superior Court of Appeals issued an injunction Wednesday on behalf of Union Beach, halting construction of the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority's wind turbine.

Conti Group, which has been contracted by the BRSA to build the turbine, must not only stop construction but also begin to demobilize by removing their equipment and their crew, explained BRSA Executive Director Rober Fischer.

"Union Beach has filed an application for a restraint to stop the Authority from transporting and building the turbine. We received it yesterday and we're going to abide by it," Fischer said.

The turbine has been hotly contested by Union Beach and several bayshore municipalities. The Union Beach Planning Board struck down the BRSA's plans for the turbine which prompted the BRSA to file a suit against the municipality last year.

The court sided with the BRSA, and Union Beach filed an appeal, explained the municipality's attorney, Stuart Lieberman. Despite the appeal, which has not yet been decided, the BRSA began building the turbine. Union Beach filed the injunction, which was granted yesterday, at the beginning of July.

"We believe there was an error at the trial court. As far as we're concerned, once it's up, a lot of times it's hard to come down. This is a big, big thing. And as a matter of human life experience, everybody knows once this thing is up, it's going to stay up," Lieberman said.

Additionally, Lieberman noted, the cost of removing the turbine if it were built but then struck down by the court would be reflected in each municipality's sewerage rates.

Over the course of the project, the local governing bodies of , Aberdeen, Hazlet, Holmdel, Keansburg and Keyport have all passed resolutions opposing the turbine.

Matawan's resolution cites several issues with the turbine, including health and safety concerns, diminished property values, and a lack of transparency by the BRSA.

"[The borough] shares the concerns expressed by the residents and governing body [of Union Beach] particularly in light of what appears to be at best a limited effort by BRSA to reach out to residents of the Bayshore and a lack of transparency in this matter," the resolution stated.

According to Fischer, much of the construction has been done. All that is left is the delivery and assembly of the components.

"The base is already built. We're just waiting for the turbine components to be delivered. It would literally take two weeks to complete this project if they were delivered," said Fischer.

Delivery of the components was scheduled , however the BRSA will have to in Newark. Fischer noted that the ongoing legal battle is having a negative impact on projected savings to customers in 2013.

"By the time the project is built, close to the entire first year in savings will be taken up by the legal challenge," Fischer said. "We will not be able to decrease rates if the project [is delayed] beyond the end of the year, which is significant because we were able to reduce it by 18% last year."

According to Fischer, the turbine is expected to generate almot 50 percent of power needed to run the sewerage plant. Last year power to run the plant cost the BRSA about $800,000, he said. 

"You hear a lot about government having to find ways to try and reduce costs and that's what were trying to do, along with reduce green house gas emissions," Fischer said. "This project is being done for all of the right reasons."

Many Union Beach residents, however, seem to disagree. Bill Heller, who lives about 1,900 feet from the turbine, is worried about the impact it will have on the identity of the community along with the impact it will have on the residents.

"It industrializes Union Beach," Heller said.

Since the planning for the turbine started in 2009, Heller has been vocal about his opposition to it. He even started noturbine.com, a site dedicated to gathering information and news articles about the effect wind turbines can have on communities. He said he has found research that shows the frequencies given off by turbines can lead to neurological side effects such as insomnia and restlessness.

Heller noted that he is doubtful the BRSA will even achieve their proposed cost savings.

"I think it's going to be a boondoggle," Heller said, contending that the necessary maintenance, such as replacing the blades in 10 to 12 years, and the fact that GE offers no warranty on the turbine, have not been factored in to the budget.

Until the courts decide whether or not the turbine can be built, both sides are at a standstill. Neither party knows when the appellate court will deliver their decision.

E Z Monn August 15, 2012 at 11:37 AM
Yes Milton...she can read a little...but only English. But what is a "ling and a "plumet" ??? and I wouldn't mind having the turbine 1000 feet from my home. The closer the better. Some of us gals have guts. There was another word I was going to use but you probably never heard of them so...
E Z Monn August 15, 2012 at 12:29 PM
I actually think we CAN say that about some of the people who run BRSA. Fischer being one of them. I'm sure they were given these industry generated documents you speak of...thats common practice, and since there were no laws on the books from the NJDEP, EPA or anyone else prohibiting the construction of the turbine where it will be located, aside from your so called better informed environMENTAL wingnuts, they proceeded. From what I can hear and read they followed the rule of law and did everything asked of them by the courts and the sorrounding towns involved in the delivery of the components. I have never had a problem with the service they provide but I do take issue with the way the flow from Union Beach is metered but that was the way it was set up from the birth of the BRSA. If you want to blame them ok but blame the UB governing body at that time also. The zoning map is wrong. You cannot dispute that. A sewage authority in a residental zone. I think not. Union Beach also has the Monmouth County Bayshore Outfall Authority in a residental zone. Someone made an expensive mistake or...it was done intentionally. There was a new council member in 2008, when the zoning was altered, who was strongly associated with the planning/zoning board and had strong ties to various environMENTAL groups at that time and was very much against the turbine project. Was there criminal intent here??? Can't think of his name right now. Hmmm
Walter White August 15, 2012 at 12:48 PM
EZ Monn you stink on ice!!! Come out and speak in public to support your beloved 400ft turbine. Most of the people posting here are at many meetings you on the other hand have never went to one. Hide behind that screen with your fake name and coward approach. Sorry if you are not Frank just figured you live in UB and are pro turbine there is only one person that I KNOW !!!!!!!! OH maybe you are Kathy but then you said you do not work for the BS'RA. You can't be that difficult to find, pro turbine support in UB is very very limited. LOL
Walter White August 15, 2012 at 01:10 PM
EZ MONN You know way to much about all this and had to be involved with the planning board and BSRA at some point!! HINT HINT Residential & Industrial Zoning for a S%#T plant who would know this unless they have no life or get paid for it ?????? OR MAYBE TRYING TO PROTECT YOUR HOME!!!!! Please stop you are not doing your cause any good. The fact is when you keep telling yourself a lie long enough you actually start believing that it is the truth!!! BSRA comissioners and directors have this problem for sure!!!!!!!
E Z Monn August 15, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Calm down Walter...anyone with a little common sense and half a brain would know a S%#T plant would not be zoned residential. With the exception of you of course. I know it's early but go have another drink and relax Walt.

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