Senator Christopher Connors, Assemblyman Brian Rumpf, and Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove (all R-Ocean) expressed their opposition to offshore wind turbines during an independent hearing on whale and dolphin deaths that was held virtually today by New Jersey Senate Republicans.
Sen. Christopher Connors, Asm. Brian Rumpf, and Asw. DiAnne Gove expressed their opposition to offshore wind turbines during an independent hearing on whale and dolphin deaths that was held virtually by N.J. Senate Republicans. (Pixabay)
The following testimony was submitted into the record on behalf of the legislators:
As coastal legislators, we call on the federal government to leave our oceans alone.
Massive wind turbines drilled into the ocean floor will wreak havoc on the fragile wildlife habitats and marine life that stand to be subjected to this extremely disruptive process.
To be clear, we are not calling for a moratorium.
We are demanding that the proposed ocean wind turbine projects be scrapped for compelling reasons.
Given the size of the turbines and wide scope of area they would cover, how can it not be expected that there will be seriously negative ecological repercussions?
Further, we call on the Murphy Administration and our state government to stop being blindly complicit by promoting this policy which will prove injurious to our oceans.
From the outset, our Delegation has opposed offshore wind turbines for three simple and obvious reasons.
First, the substantial damage that the wind turbines will do to the ocean floor, including wildlife habitats.
Second, people love the Jersey shore as it is renowned for its beautiful seascape without massive wind turbines.
Third, and certainly not last, the very real potential for the commercial and recreational fishing industry to be irrevocably, negatively impacted.
In April of 2021 – before the reports of dead whales and dolphins started filling local headlines – our Delegation wrote to the federal government, specifically the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, outlining the very serious local concerns about the proposed ocean windfarm off of Long Beach Island.
These serious concerns include, but are certainly not limited to, the potentially negative consequences for New Jersey’s fishing and tourism industry which are vital and strong performing components of the state’s overall economy.
A copy of our correspondence, to reiterate was sent more than two years ago, has been attached to our testimony.
Then, as now, our Delegation strongly believes that the wind turbine project would prove to be yet another failed experiment in the growing list of pipedream green energy proposals that achieved little at great cost to taxpayers and ratepayers.
For advocates of ocean wind turbines, we are forced to ask: Do you really think that is worth the risk to the environment to produce an infinitesimal amount of energy?
Does combating climate change really require drilling massive holes into the ocean floor?
Our record on this is clear and principled by virtue of the fact that we supported the 2018 bipartisan-supported law that prohibits offshore drilling for oil or natural gas in State waters.
It is important to note that our Delegation takes exception to remarks by government officials who frown upon residents for strenuously objecting to the ocean wind turbines.
These residents rightly hold that the ocean belongs to the people – and is not a natural resource for the government agencies to lease out in huge swaths to major corporations.
Is it not State policy, especially among environmental activists, to increase beach and waterway access?
How will the massive ocean wind turbines not erode, let alone maintain, a standing State policy commitment to beach and waterway access?
It is not a matter of if but to what extent will navigation in proximity to the wind turbines be restricted?
Thousands of acres or perhaps hundreds of square miles will be off limits to the recreational and commercial harvest of fin and shellfish.
Added to that, permitting the wind turbines to be built will present a very real risk to the path of migratory fish, placing these resources beyond the limits of many recreational fishermen.
Parenthetically, how does the leasing of hundreds of square miles of ocean floor to foreign companies reduce our dependence on foreign energy?
Our state should be deeply concerned of what is to follow should the ocean wind turbine projects be approved, and not just in terms of electric rates.
By this, we mean the empty promises made to ratepayers who now find themselves subsidizing the costs of solar energy.
Data presented through research should not countermand people’s common sense: drilling holes in the ocean floor for the construction of massive structures will have serious negative ramifications.
For the millions that love and visit our state’s pristine beaches, do we have to say: “Enjoy the view while it lasts.”
Like residents across the state, we are alarmed by the number of dead whales, dolphins and marine life washing ashore or being found in the water.
It is understandable that concerned residents would direct their focus on the debate as to whether sonar being used to map the ocean floor for wind turbine projects is the cause for the deaths.
Ultimately though, the most effective approach to achieve the goal of protecting marine life in our ocean is to outright oppose the ocean wind turbine projects.
Appropriately, we must emphasize that this testimony represents the principled stance and interests of many of our constituents for whom this issue is emotional on several levels.
It is our sincere hope that the testimony offered during this hearing proves to be a compelling effort to stop the construction of ocean wind turbines and, thereby, protecting our ocean and marine wildlife.
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