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Charges dropped against Ocean City wind farm protesters

Charges against six wind farm opponents arrested September at a rally in Ocean City have been dropped and their records were expunged.

About 60 protesters attended the rally with the goal of stopping workers from drilling holes in the street in an early step in Orsted’s proposed Ocean Wind 1 project.

They were there to protest preliminary work along the 35th Street corridor for an underground transmission cable that would link offshore wind turbines with the land-based electric grid at the former B.L. England power plant in Upper Township.

When police asked protesters to relocate about 10 feet from the site, many did. Six others did not. After they lied down in the street, they were arrested and charged with two disorderly persons offenses, failure to disperse and obstruction of highways or public pathways.

Six months later, three spoke about how they felt vindicated when they received word from their attorney, Michael Ruffu, that all of the charges were dropped and their records were expunged. The case was before Ocean City Municipal Court Judge Richard A. Russell.

Bonna Weinstein and her husband, Robert Weinstein, of Ocean City, and Abington Township, Pa.; Shani Kovacevic, of Upper Township, and Denise Philipp, of Doylestown, Pa., were all represented by Ruffu.

Lee Darby Rinaldi, of Absecon, and Karen Corsi, of Woodbury, were also arrested. They were not represented by Ruffu. Their cases were also dismissed.

“We got a call from our attorney and he said the charges were dismissed. He said the charges were dropped against everybody,” Bonna Weinstein said.

Weinstein, 59, and her husband, Robert, 73, decided to attend the rally because they believe the wind farm would be bad for the ocean and the environment, Bonna Weinstein said.

“We love Ocean City. We purchased our house in 2013. It was never about protecting our property values, like some people say when they speak out against the wind farm. It is about keeping things beautiful – keeping the ocean beautiful, not making it a metal junkyard with turbines,” Weinstein said. “We participated because the earth and the ocean cannot speak for themselves, and we have a duty to keep them as beautiful as we found it.”

The normally law-abiding grandparents never thought that they would get arrested Sept. 12, and they are happy it is over, she noted.

“The lawyer did a wonderful job and we think the court did an amazing thing,” Weinstein added. “It made me believe in and love Ocean City even more.”

Monday, April 15, 2024
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