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At Earth Day, Some Say They Like Wind Turbines

Although there has been strong opposition by many against the BRSA's wind turbine planned for Union Beach, some environmentally-minded residents are in favor.

At Holmdel’s Earth Day Festival at Bayonet Farm, there were many people advocating for alternative energy.

Because wind turbines have been in the news lately, Patch wanted to ask people their thoughts were regarding the one planned by the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority for its plant operations in Union Beach.

There has been strong opposition by people in Union Beach and neighboring Hazlet who say the 396-foot tall turbine it is too big and too close to their homes and will cause them health problems and loss in property values. The Holmdel Township Committee recently passed a resolution opposing the construction of the turbine, as has several other towns.

But the BRSA says the turbine will generate energy and help reduce rates for ratepayers in the towns it serves: Union Beach, Holmdel, Keyport, Hazlet, Keansburg, Matawan, Aberdeen, and parts of Marlboro. The BRSA’s current chairman is John Colligas, of Holmdel.

At the festival, Holmdel resident and environmentalist Chris Yonclas discussed the turbine at a raingarden exhibit. Yonclas said he personally liked the idea of the proposed wind turbine in Union Beach.

“The only problem I have with it, from an environmental standpoint, is that the geese are dominant in that area,” said Yonclas. (The geese, or any bird, could wind up flying into the blades of the wind turbine, he explained.)

Yonclas added he would not like to live next to one because of “the whopping sound.” But then again, he said, he’s lived next to the Garden State Parkway for 20 years. “The noise becomes secondary,” he said. 

Holmdel resident Jenni Blumenthal, who was giving out flyers on trees, mulch volcanoes and stinkbugs, said she is personally in favor of the wind turbines. Even the one proposed for Union Beach.

According to Blumenthal, if you want something, you have to pay the price. “If you want electricity you have make it somehow. If you want to use a cell phone, you got to put up cell phone towers,” she said. “There is a lot of controversy about it. I might be in the minority around here, but I think it’s a good idea to make use of the wind as a source of power”.

Robert “Bob” Wilson, of Holmdel, the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize co-winner in Physics, was the man in the cowboy hat telling people about ways to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. He said that he and his wife, Betsy, first encountered a string of wind turbines during a trip to Holland. “I don't know how much is known about the health effects of constant noise, but it should be considered,” said Wilson, who wrote an email to Patch, the next day. "As for wind turbines being placed near residences, one would have to know the expected noise from the proposed turbine.  I would hope that the noise would be minimal inside houses."

Elise Donovan of Holmdel said she would like to know more about the controversy, because in the end, something needs to be done about the cost of electricity, she said. 

“I know there’s just a lot of controversy surrounding the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority, so I’m not sure if people are unhappy with the Authority, and therefore they aren’t to say ‘Go forward with another project.' It’s complicated.” 

But she added, “We need to find more clean sources of energy. Our electric bills are getting higher and higher.” Last month, Donovan said her electric bill was $500.

Joe S May 04, 2011 at 01:33 PM
I noticed Every person being quoted here has already noted a negative of these IWT's even if they don't live near it. If there are questionable effects then Why would we Hurry and allow them to be built. Also I would Like to Mention that Bob Fisher at a Packed meeting of the B.R.S.A. Said "If the noise is bottering YOU Call ME and I WILL Shut it OFF" Well Let Me tell you first hand You will Not get an answer after 430 pm , and this is because the office is closed and after 11pm and on weekends there is No one there . Until just recently you could get someone on the phone but they changed even that.
Barbara May 04, 2011 at 02:11 PM
I agree with your analogy. I have a wind turbine approx. 275' from my front door. Besides the noise, besides the shadow flicker and sun glare....it is not saving our town money but costing us money. And even before the blades fell off of the one in Lacey Twsp. in the beginning of March (2011) I was concerned about that thing spinning over the heads of traffic, pedestrians, and local employees. The ones in the ocean I have seen reports that they believe dead whales may be due to their sonar systems being messed up from the pounding of the turbine bases in the sea flooring. There are more down sides that I see to this than good sides. I agree with Anita that to cut back is the way to go.
Katherine Reilly May 04, 2011 at 02:22 PM
Earth Day? Reading some of the comments about people wanting to know more or what should be considered?.....Attend the meetings, look at all the research papers presented regarding the inefficiency, the health issues, the sound, the flicker, what it will do to endangered species, let alone our life long investment in our homes, then you have the right to say for or against. And yes, unfortunately, those of us within the footprint of this industrial turbine "we will pay the price" but at what cost? Not once has any consideration been give to us by those who have the "power" to build this turbine. Kudos to Hazlet and the other towns installing solar canopies that will do more than just reduce the carbon output.
Pete P. May 05, 2011 at 09:45 AM
Many who hail the benefits of industrial windmills on Earth Day do not know about the environmental devastion the mining of rare earths for their magnests (thousands of pounds each) causes. I read this in the Toronto Sun and there's more available from other sources: "Mining mineral for windmill magnets causes environmental disaster." http://www.torontosun.com/comment/columnists/christina_blizzard/2011/02/25/17412836.html
Bill Heller May 05, 2011 at 05:01 PM
(Riverhead News-Review) "State findings: Sewer plant turbine not worth it." One has to ask the question, "Would an audit by an independent and knowledgeable third party arrive at the same conclusion regarding the "BRSA's planned turbine?" I believe an audit of the BRSA is also needed for a host of other issues that have been the subject of much public controversy as of late. http://riverheadnewsreview.timesreview.com/2011/05/13867/state-findings-sewer-plant-turbine-not-worth-it/

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