Jeff Van Drew, a Democrat-turn-Republican congressman from New Jersey, demanded an investigation Friday into whether offshore wind projects are killing whales.
His call for halting “all offshore wind activity” off the New Jersey and New York coastlines comes after seven dead whales have washed up in the area over the last two months.
Van Drew said in a statement that he has “been adamantly opposed” to wind projects approved by New Jersey Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy last year, citing concerns over the “environment and the impacts on the fishing industry.”
Signed last year by Murphy, Executive Order No. 307 set a goal to increase New Jersey’s offshore wind goal by nearly 50% to 11,000 megawatts by 2040, while also directing the state’s Board of Public Utilities to consider increasing it further.
“Ocean life is being put at risk as our governor and president force through their Green New Deal policies, without giving full consideration to their real-world impacts,” Van Drew claimed.
“We have seen a complete lack of transparency from New Jersey’s leaders, as well as D.C. politicians who are ramming through these projects in order to push their climate agenda.”
During a radio interview Wednesday, Murphy called the recent whale deaths “tragic” and confirmed the state would look into the cause of the uptick in beached whales.
“We’re taking it very seriously,” the governor said.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management tracked four current offshore wind projects under construction in New Jersey, with another three being built off the coast of New York.
Last year, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland joined Murphy and New York Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul to unveil a shared vision for increasing offshore wind output in the Middle Atlantic states.
“We are at an inflection point for domestic offshore wind energy development,” Haaland said while appearing alongside the two governors. “We must seize this moment — and we must do it together.”
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