NJ Lawmakers back wind turbine setback bill

 By Graelyn Brashear  APP

Assembly members David Rible and Mary Pat Angelini, both R-Monmouth, have followed the lead of their Republican State Senate counterpart, Sean T. Kean, in sponsoring a bill that would prohibit siting large wind turbines within 2,000 feet of homes.

The bill, A3473, is the Assembly version of the recently introduced Senate measure prompted by the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs’ plans to build a 325-foot wind turbine at the state-owned National Guard Training Center bordered by Sea Girt and Manasquan.

Rible cited fears about possible health effects on those living near the proposed 1.5-megawatt turbine, which the DMAVA indicated could be within 1,000 feet of homes.

“Alternative energy should be a resource, and we should be working on it,” Rible said, “but we have a lot of questions out there about the issue of turbines, about health disorders that could come out of them, that are still unsettled.”

Concerns about so-called “wind turbine syndrome” — nausea, insomnia and other problems said by some researchers to be caused by the continuous whooshing sound made by turbine blades — have been among the issues raised by Sea Girt and Manasquan residents regarding the project. Studies conducted in recent years have produced conflicting results on whether turbine noise constitutes a health danger or merely an annoyance, however.

Rible said there are enough questions about the safety of siting turbines close to homes to merit caution.

“As a state legislator, I can’t sign off until I know for sure it won’t affect people in the area,” he said.

Rible and Angelini also co-sponsored a resolution specifically opposing the National Guard Training Center project, a measure he said he hopes will garner bipartisan support and get the attention of the State Department of Environmental Protection, which ultimately has the power to grant a permit for the turbine project.

“It sends a message to the (DEP) that the majority of Assembly members are saying it’s a really bad idea to do at this point,” Rible said.

Graelyn Brashear: 732-643-4282; gbrashear@app.com