Hundreds of people show at two meetings on ocean wind projects Wednesday and Thursday

Two meetings held on consecutive days brought out hundreds of residents with concerns over wind turbine projects off the coast of Cape May County. A Wednesday night meeting at the Ocean City Tabernacle Church, hosted by Cape May County Commissioner Director Leonard Desiderio and Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian, drew hundreds who were mostly opposed to the project. Michael Donohue, representing Cape May County as special counsel spoke at length on the wind mill proposal and what local officials have done so far, making clear the county is not opposed to wind power but have several objections to a move from the state giving decisions to the Board of Public Utilities and blocking local officials. One speaker in the minority received a negative response as he spoke in favor of the turbines, until Donohue asked the crowd to quiet down. A hearing hosted by U.S. Rep Jeff Van Drew at the Wildwoods Convention Center Thursday attracted over 200 people with the room reaching capacity, with several dozen being turned away. Donohue repeated concerns mentioned in Ocean City that the projects will devastate the local tourism economy. Other speakers Thursday included representation from organizations concerned about ocean wildlife such as Clean Ocean Action and Save LBI, and the president of LaMonica Fine Foods, Daniel LaVecchia, who raised concerns of sustaining the commercial fishing industry. Van Drew promised there will be further hearings in Washington DC on the wind energy projects.

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