Democrats Block 30-Day Moratorium on New Jersey Wind Farm Surveys to Investigate Whale Deaths

New Jersey Senate Democrats blocked an effort today by Senator Joe Pennacchio to enact a 30-day moratorium on wind farm survey work to determine if there’s a link to a sudden surge in whale deaths along the Jersey Shore.

“I know we’re all concerned about the sudden surge in whale deaths that’s occurred in our area over the past two months, so I’m disappointed that Democrats blocked an amendment that could help us determine the cause,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “Senate Republicans continue to believe the fastest and least intrusive way to determine if there is a link between wind farm development and the whale deaths is to halt survey work for 30 days. If the trend in whale deaths changes for the better during that time, we’ll have data showing a more thorough investigation is needed. If we don’t see a change, a small delay of a few weeks won’t substantially impact the development of the wind farms. At least we would know we’re not sacrificing our marine environment and endangered whales in the cultish pursuit of green energy at any cost.”

Pennacchio made a motion during today’s Senate session to add an amendment implementing the proposed moratorium to a renewable energy bill that was under consideration. The Democratic majority voted to block his amendment.

Senate Republicans recently called on Governor Murphy to issue a temporary moratorium, which he refused to do.

Some environmental groups, including Clean Ocean Action, have suggested that the surveys of the ocean floor that are being conducted for offshore wind farm development, which can include sonar mapping, drilling, and seismic testing, may disrupt the ability of whales to navigate safely, possibly leading to the spike of deadly groundings and vessel strikes since December.

“As many of our colleagues have pointed out, the only significant change in our waters recently has been the start of survey work related to the wind farms that will be built just miles off our beaches – the same beaches where whales are now washing up dead,” Pennacchio added. “Surprisingly, some people who call themselves environmentalists seem completely unwilling to consider the possibility that the survey work is linked to the sudden spike in whale deaths, and they adamantly oppose any effort to investigate out of fear it will impact the development of the wind farms. If the surveys were related to any other kind of development, you can be 100% certain that the work would have been halted already for an investigation.“

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