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Environmental Advocates Blast Efforts to Halt Offshore Wind Development, Disapprove of Rally at New Jersey State House
Trenton, NJ, — Today, offshore wind opponents, backed by their fossil fuel funders, are bringing their misinformation campaign to the New Jersey Legislature in an effort to stop the burgeoning offshore wind industry in our state. Moving toward a 21st century clean energy economy will protect our coast, clean our air, slow the warming of our oceans, and create family-sustaining jobs - all while protecting the marine environment from the threats of climate change. Environmental advocates from the New Jersey Wind Works Coalition have issued the following statements in response to efforts to halt clean energy development:
“Unfortunately this has become very political. MAGA Republicans are choosing to listen to Marjorie Taylor Greene and Tucker Carlson over the scientists examining the issue of offshore wind. The fact is that expanding clean, renewable energy is critical in the fight against climate change – which is the largest threat facing our marine ecosystems,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director, New Jersey LCV. “New Jersey must take bold action now to avert a climate catastrophe. Our state is leading the nation in offshore wind, which will create jobs and economic prosperity even as it reduces our reliance on foreign fossil fuels. It’s time to move past the tired rhetoric of oil industry-funded extremists and follow the science, which stands firmly behind continued investment in offshore wind.”
“Wind energy is absolutely necessary to help us transition away from fossil fuels and keep the impacts of the climate crisis from getting exponentially worse. Carbon emissions hit a record high in 2022. We are moving in the wrong direction, and we cannot get off fossil fuels fast enough,” said Jennifer Coffey, Executive Director, ANJEC. “Those trying to blame the whale deaths on offshore wind are playing politics and failing to follow the science. The data shows that the increased number of whales washing up on shore started in 2016, years before any wind research. The biggest threat to whales is climate change, which is why they have been in the region all winter long, as well as ship strikes, abandoned commercial fishing gear, and plastic pollution.”
“Climate change represents a major threat to wildlife and people. Transitioning to an energy system with lower greenhouse gas emissions is critical to creating a future where biodiversity – including people – can thrive. Responsible development of offshore wind is an important pathway for replacing fossil fuels in electricity production,” said Alex Ireland, PhD, President & CEO of NJ Audubon. “All development and energy production includes some risk. However, a moratorium on offshore wind development would irresponsibly ignore the planetary risks of allowing climate change to proceed unmitigated.”
“Let’s put a moratorium on all scientifically proven threats to marine mammals and not listen to conspiracy theories and hearsay: let’s end irresponsible fishing practices that abandon derelict fishing gear that entangles marine life; let’s end plastic pollution, which causes gastric blockage and eventual starvation when ingested; and let’s put an end to deadly ship strikes by fully enforcing and expanding slow zones for large cargo-and cruise-ships,” said Heidi Yeh, Public Policy Director, Pinelands Preservation Alliance. “Most importantly, we need to end our dependence on fossil fuels—which drives 40% of global maritime trade—and also fuels climate change, which is wreaking havoc on critical whale habitats. We don’t have time to waste on farfetched and implausible claims when we already know the greatest threats to marine life.”
“Out on the waters of the NY Bight, I witness climate crisis related things all the time, extraordinary rainfall effects on the marine environment, southern species in our waters and or species moving northward out of our region along with heavy metal contaminated seafood consumption warnings, inconsistent water temperatures and unpredictable winds. Responsibly developed offshore wind power is the fastest way to stall these effects and reduce our dependance on burning fossil fuels for energy and transportation. Crystal clear to me that we need to make changes NOW so that our children and the ecosystem can benefit from our actions,” Capt. Paul Eidman, Owner, Reel Therapy Fishing Charters.
“As a leader of a faith community in New Jersey and someone who cherishes the earth and sea that have been provided to humanity, I am deeply saddened, as is my congregation, by the deaths of whales and dolphins off our coast in recent weeks. Climate change and global warming are attributing to the drastic weather changes, ecosystems collapses, and food insecurity for both humans and wildlife alike. We must forge a new future with renewable energy sources and not get dismayed by the parties that wish to distract us from the true crises. We are all threatened if we do not act to save our planet,” said Reverend Tuff, GreenFaith Alliance NJ.
“Opponents of offshore wind energy have been given the facts about marine wildlife, views, onshore facilities, electromagnetic fields, and the permitting process numerous times for years. They have been offered opportunities to interact with developers, government agencies, and even other nonprofits. They have been referred to independent online sources. I have given up trying to understand their motives, but it is time to stop the lies that they are circulating to an unsuspecting public,” said Anne Poole, President, New Jersey Environmental Lobby.
"It is unfortunate that offshore wind has become so politicized when this is really a scientific issue. We must follow the science, not misinformation, in order to best understand New Jersey’s path to a clean energy and safe climate future. We must not forget that offshore wind is NJ’s strongest defense in our arsenal against climate change,” said Anjuli Ramos, Executive Director, Sierra Club NJ.
NOAA, BOEM, the independent Marine Mammal Commission, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), have all gone on the record to state there is no evidence of a connection between the recent ocean mammal strandings and offshore wind activities. In addition, when the Marine Mammal Stranding Center has had the opportunity to conduct necropsies, the results have shown evidence of boat strikes and net entanglements.