Murphy: ‘No link’ between wind power and NJ whale deaths
🔴 Gov. Phil Murphy says there is no link to wind projects and whale deaths
🔴 Murphy rejects calls to halt offshore wind projects
🔴 NJ congressmen vow investigations, call for "pause" to wind farming
Despite growing calls to halt offshore wind development after a record number of dead whales have washed up on New Jersey and New York beaches, Gov. Phil Murphy says the projects should continue.
In a statement to NJ.com, a Murphy spokesman called allegations the projects are responsible for an increase in whale death are "unfounded."
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says they are continuing to look into whale deaths, and suggested climate change may be pushing whales closer to shipping lanes.
Some of the 10 whales that have washed up on area beaches since December did show signs of a vessel strike, but it is difficult to determine if that was the cause of death, or if it happened after the whale died from some other cause.
Mayors from 30 shore towns in Monmouth, Ocean, Cape May and Atlantic Counties sent a letter to state and federal officials on Tuesday demanding a halt to offshore wind projects until the matter can be studied further.
Specifically, they want to know if the acoustic surveys being done to map the ocean floor is causing harm to whales and other marine life.
Murphy's statement suggested those asking for a halt to these wind projects are "motivated not by a concern for our environment, but by their own political ideologies."
New Jersey Congressman Jeff Van Drew (R-2) announced he would hold hearings on the whale deaths beginning next month, and vowed an end to wind projects.
"We are not just doing to delay or slow down the offshore wind industrialization of our Jersey Shore," Van Drew said, "We are going to stop this completely."
Van Drew was among hundreds who attended a "Save the Whales" rally last Sunday marking "World Whale Day."
Fellow Republican Congressman Chris Smith (R-4) claims President Joe Biden's administration has ignored calls for an investigation.
Smith has introduced a bill in congress (HR 1056) forcing federal agencies to investigate not just the whales deaths, but the process under which offshore wind projects were approved.
"My legislation will investigate the level of transparency from federal agencies that greenlighted this aggressive offshore wind development," Smith said in a statement, "And determine how much scrutiny was implemented in reviewing the environmental and maritime safety of this project, especially given its unprecedented size and scale."
He also called for a pause to wind development citing "the lack of conclusive evidence disproving the link between offshore wind development and whale deaths."
Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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