South Jersey lawmakers claim whale deaths linked to Murphy’s massive offshore wind project

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A humpback whale breaches off the coast of California

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – Republican leaders are once again calling for Governor Phil Murphy and Democrats to start worrying about saving the whales and putting a massive offshore wind turbine farm on hold until scientists can rule out human interference in an unprecedented string of whale deaths at the Jersey Shore.

“Sen. Michael Testa and Assemblymen Erik Simonsen and Antwan McClellan are intensifying calls to suspend offshore wind projects following an unprecedented number of whale deaths along the coasts of New Jersey and New York,” the New Jersey Senate Republican caucus said today in a statement. “They join a chorus of concerned elected officials and environmental and commercial fishing groups who are worried the push for more offshore wind development has contributed to the death of seven whales in a little over a month, including two on the endangered species list.”

Murphy made it clear last week that he won’t stop his offshore wind project for the whales, saying that the whale die-off has been going on for almost two decades now.

In total, more than 400 wind turbines could soon litter the view of the Atlantic Ocean from Jersey Shore beaches.

“It has been clear for a long while that the wind projects as proposed may pose significant impact risks to the local environment,” said Testa (R-Cumberland). “Our coastal communities and the thriving commercial fisheries and recreational fishing activities rely upon a healthy and safe ocean and these projects unnecessarily imperil that which is unacceptable. Until the proponents can assure our region that these projects are not playing a part in these incidents, it would be wise to suspend the work.”

“We believe that the work related to offshore wind activities is the primary difference in our waters and an investigation should be done as to why these magnificent marine mammals are dying in alarming numbers,” McClellan (R-Cape May) said.

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.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Cape May County), state Sen. Vincent J. Polistina, Assemblyman Don Guardian and Assemblywoman Claire Swift (R-Atlantic County) have also demanded a halt to offshore wind activities at the Jersey Shore.