Starting with omission of the 5,000 construction and maintenance jobs predicted by a range of other studies, Beacon Hill also discounts wind power’s benefit in reducing foreign-oil dependence and New Jersey’s import of electricity from other states.
Although this wind turbines project and others like it are supported by the likes of Google, the United Steelworkers, and the League of Women Voters, Sinclair concludes:
"[I]t’s clear the Kochs are planning to make the fight over New Jersey’s coasts a particularly ugly and bruising one. The situation also bodes ominously for other states…."
It’s official. I’ve been waiting for the money guys behind the phony “grassroots” anti-wind “windbagger” movement to show themselves, and finally, they have. As Gomer Pyle said, “Serprize, serprize, serprize.”
A conservative group that spearheaded efforts to lobby the Christie administration to pull out of a regional initiative to curb greenhouse gas emissions is now trying to undercut New Jersey’s efforts to develop offshore wind farms.
Americans for Prosperity retained the Beacon Hill Institute to do a cost-benefit analysis of the state’s plans to develop up to 1,100 megawatts of wind farm capacity off the coast of southern New Jersey. The study concluded that “the rush to offshore wind power will produce net economic costs, raise electricity prices, and dampen economic activity.”
Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a group fronting special interests started by oil billionaire David Kochand Richard Fink (a member of the board of directors of Koch Industries).
Topping the report’s list of misrepresented facts are the jobs benefits. In fact, forget about misrepresentation; the report actually failed to represent those benefits altogether. Considering the impressive job-creation numbers cited in a range of other studies on offshore wind energy, it’s hard to imagine how any analysis that wasn’t commissioned as an intentional piece of fiction could have made such a glaring omission. Indeed, a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory indicates that the 1,000 megawatts of offshore wind power New Jersey is planning to build could result in nearly 5,000 construction and maintenance jobs. Adding to the imbalance of the Kochs’ equations, their report completely discounts wind power’s benefit as a relief valve against foreign-oil dependence or New Jersey’s need to import electricity from other states.
Of course, this parade of misinformation should come as little surprise considering the track record of the key Koch crony in the Garden State: AFP New Jersey chapter director and Tea Party high priest Steve Lonegan. A longtime extreme-right gadfly of the New Jersey political scene, Lonegan earned his Koch-worthy credentials publishing false accusations about political opponents during his time as mayor of Bogota, N.J., and has been accused of violating state election laws and defrauding taxpayers in a 2008 run for governor. What’s more, as chronicled in the New Jersey Star-Ledger, Lonegan was the local force behind the “dishonest scare-campaign” that led to Christie’s retreat from RGGI.
With Lonegan leading the offensive, it’s clear the Kochs are planning to make the fight over New Jersey’s coasts a particularly ugly and bruising one. The situation also bodes ominously for other states up and down the Mid-Atlantic Bight that are considering wind projects, from Connecticut to North Carolina.
Thankfully, for all the dollars and deceitfulness the Kochs have in their arsenal, their victory is far from assured. As their failed attempt to cut down California’s climate law in 2010 proved, the Kochs can be beaten by a well-organized, grassroots-powered opposition with truth on its side. And that’s exactly what they’re up against in New Jersey and up and down the Mid-Atlantic Bight, where a robust coalition involving everyone from Google to the United Steelworkers to the League of Women Voters is ready to stand up for wind and smack down any BS Lonegan and the Kochs serve up.
Make no mistake folks, this will be a fight, but it’s a fight we really want to have. In every poll, renewable energy finds overwhelming support across the country, across the political spectrum, across age groups. We really want AFP and the Koch Brothers to come out in the open on this one, where they can be seen for what they are and who they serve.