A dolphin that became trapped in Arthur Kill has died while another stranded itself on the Jersey Shore as state legislative committees consider bills to help the company building an offshore wind farm.

Firefighters removed an adult male bottlenose dolphin stranded in the Arthur Kill off Alvin P. Williams Park in the Sewaren section of Woodbridge Friday morning, according to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center. It died at the park.

Saturday a sub-adult Risso's dolphin was stranded alive in Seaside Park. The MMSC did not disclose an exact location. It was euthanized due to poor body condition. Both were taken to the New Jersey Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory for a necropsy.

Woodbridge firefighters with a dolphin that stranded itself in the Arthur Kill off Alvin P. Williams Park 6/23/23
Woodbridge firefighters with a dolphin that stranded itself in the Arthur Kill off Alvin P. Williams Park 6/23/23 (Woodbridge Township Professional Firefighters Association)

Helping a wind project

Some environmental groups and Republican lawmakers including U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J. 2nd District, along with Jersey Shore mayors have called upon Gov. Phil Murphy to declare a 60 to 90-day moratorium on work on offshore wind projects to investigate a link to the deaths of the whales, dolphins and porpoises, which has increased since December.

Murphy has said there is no evidence linking the work to the deaths, which have been happening for several years. Environmental groups have accused opponents of wind energy of exploiting the deaths.

A state Senate committee approved a bill Tuesday that would allow Orsted, the company planning to build 100 wind turbines in the project called Ocean Wind 1 off the Jersey Shore, to keep federal tax credits to help counter what they termed lingering economic effects from the COVID-19 pandemic and elevated inflation.

Amendments to the bill require Orsted to post a $200 million guarantee with the state, and prepare a report on the financial viability, possible environmental impacts and likelihood of finishing the project on time.

But the state's Ratepayer Advocate warned against passing the bill in its original over concerns about its impact on ratepayers. A representative for Orsted told the committee there would be no additional cost to ratepayers.

"The Inflation Reduction Act increased the federal tax incentives and did so to create local investments into states like New Jersey. Orsted will increase its investments in New Jersey if the bill is enacted. These federal incentives present an opportunity for New Jersey to further secure in-state economic investments and hundreds of jobs at no additional cost to ratepayers," the representative said.

Recent stranded dolphins in New Jersey
Recent stranded dolphins in New Jersey (Canva)

Another call for a pause

State Sen. Mike Testa, R-Cumberland, spoke against the bill and called for a pause in work.

“Why the rush?” he asked. “I have thousands of my constituents, and they're not climate deniers. They're not anti-science. They're not kooks. There's something amiss here.”

Van Drew on Monday told WPG Talk Radio's Harry Hurley that the Legislature should reject any bailout for wind projects planned off the Jersey Shore.

"Now is the time for anyone with even an ounce of common sense left in Trenton to come together regardless of party and reject this bailout before it's too late," Van Drew said.

Includes reporting by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

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