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Burzichelli, Kennedy & Karabinchak Bill to Encourage Offshore Wind Projects in New Jersey Clears Assembly

Measure Heads to the Governor’s Desk

To encourage more offshore wind projects throughout the state, legislation sponsored by Assemblymen John Burzichelli (D-Cumberland, Gloucester, Salem), James Kennedy (D-Middlesex, Somerset, Union) and Robert Karabinchak (D-Middlesex) to amend the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act to allow qualified offshore wind projects, including qualified transmission facilities, to have certain authorities over rights of way cleared the full Assembly on Thursday, 49-26.

The sponsors issued the following statement on the bill:

Offshore-wind projects are poised to provide clean, renewable energy to New Jersey.  Once more projects begin, the benefits of getting involved in the sustainable energy industry will bring more jobs for residents, and a significant investment into the State’s economy. This legislation will further support the BPU’s timeline for solicitations of wind energy generation by making clearer the roles of these projects in municipalities.”

The bill (A-5894) grants three rights to projects approved by the Board of Public Utilities.

1). An approved project would have the authority to place, replace, construct, reconstruct, install, reinstall, add to, extend, use, operate, inspect, and maintain wires, conduits, lines and associated infrastructure within the rights-of-way of any municipality, county, or other public subdivision of the State or any agency, authority, or other entity. All infrastructure must be located underground, except to the extent necessary as determined by the Board. Public entities are prohibited from charging a fee for the use of this property, other than a fee for a road opening permit.

2,) Approved projects are allowed to obtain easements, rights-of-way or other real property interest on or over any real property owned by a municipality, county, or other political subdivision the State that is reasonably necessary for the construction of the qualified offshore wind project; and

3.) Approved projects are allowed to file a petition with the Board to preempt and supersede municipal or county approvals, consents, or affirmative findings with other public entities. The bill would allow the Board to also preempt and supersede municipal or county approvals required for permits from another State agency.

Before exercising these rights, the offshore wind project must first consult with the municipality, county, or other political subdivision of the State.