Enviro groups to Obama: Let it blow, baby, blow

A coalition of 217 environmental and other groups delivered a letter to President Obama today, urging him to accelerate offshore wind development along the Atlantic Coast.

The groups applauded the administration's efforts so far -- including the Department of the Interior's "Smart from the Start" initiative, which designates appropriate areas for wind development in federal waters off the coast of six Atlantic states — New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. The idea is to reduce hurdles that development of offshore wind entails.

And they urged "continued strong action" to move the nation away from fossil fuels.

For an update on what could be the first offshore project in federal waters, off of Cape Cod, go to the Cape Wind website.

Meanwhile, several projects have been proposed for New Jersey. While some seem to have stalled, Fishermen's Energy is moving forward with its test project in state waters. Last week, it received final permission from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the project.

Today's letter to Obama read, "For the sake of our environment and the prospects of a vibrant clean energy economy in America, we must have numerous wind farms spinning off our shores within the next few years – and we need your continued leadership to make that vision a reality. ... . We can no longer afford to ignore this massive domestic energy source that has been producing thousands of jobs and megawatts of clean energy in Europe for over a decade."

Environment New Jersey was one of the groups that signed. “There are vast untapped reserves of wind energy off our coast that we can capture to reduce pollution and ramp up the clean energy economy. This letter demonstrates the broad agreement among environmental groups and a diversity of other stakeholders that our state and national leaders should act to steadily ramp up efforts to tap into this important resource,” said Matt Elliott, the group's clean energy advocate.

"Not only is wind a reality, it is the most cost effective, reliable form of renewable energy, said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, also a signee. "We have enough potential energy out there to power New Jersey.”

Other supporters included labor groups, businesses, faith leaders and elected representatives.

The groups asked Obama to:

• Support federal financial investments to spur offshore wind development;

• Set a bold goal for offshore wind in the Atlantic;

• Ensure that offshore wind projects are sited, constructed and operated responsibly;

• Provide DOI and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management with sufficient staff and resources; and

• Prioritize coordination to secure a market for offshore wind power.

So let's just check one of the cool websites I love: That of the National Data Buoy Center, to see what's up offshore from New Jersey today.

The buoy about 30 miles east of Brick Township, station 44025, shows west-southwest winds at nearly 12 knots, gusting to 13.6.

That ought to turn a turbine or two.