Skvarla's replacement carrying the banner for the fossil fuel industry:
North Carolina’s environment secretary has urged a federal agency not to sell wind energy leases within 24 miles of the state’s coast, a limit that advocates say would largely block wind farms.
Van der Vaart’s letter said the two zones near tourist-heavy Wilmington deserve similar protection. He said studies commissioned by New Jersey found significant declines in tourism when energy projects can be seen from shore.
Here is the study itself, with the relevant impacts to tourism data beginning on page 29. As you can see, their perusal of available literature on wind farms worldwide show minimal negative impacts to tourism, and some areas claiming a massive increase due to the visibility of wind farms. Additional specific (NJ) site polling and projections show a net gain in tourism dollars, but you have to actually finish reading the tourism section before you get to that conclusion. If this is the study to which Van der Vaart is referring, his comment and position reflect either a serious lack of scholarly capabilities, or an intentional desire to misuse data. Or maybe both. But no matter how you look at it, his qualifications as head of DENR are in question.