Protect Our Coast NJ rally in Trenton calls for pause on offshore wind
A Protect Our Coast NJ rally took place Thursday at the State Capitol in Trenton in response to the recent marine mammal deaths along the New Jersey coast.
A petition, signed by nearly half a million New Jersey residents, has been passed to state legislators. Residents are asking for a pause of all offshore wind-related activities to allow for more testing to be done.
Since the middle of February, 16 dolphins have washed up on the Jersey Shore. More than a dozen whales have been found dead along New Jersey and New York beaches since December. Recently a harbor porpoise was found dead on Ortley Beach.
Protect Our Coast NJ is an independent grassroots organization opposed to offshore wind farms.
At Thursday's rally, “save our shores” chants could be heard outside the State House Annex.
"Very sad, it needs to be looked at. It needs to be stopped and researched deeper before they can precede forward. They are pushing this way too fast," said Joseph Pallante of Long Beach Island. "I'm graced with living next to the most beautiful ocean that you can imagine and that is going to be taken away from me."
On Tuesday, Democratic U.S. senators from four states, including New Jersey, said they want federal environmental officials to address the large number of whale deaths on both coasts, urging “transparency and timeliness” in releasing information about whale deaths and their causes. However, that letter did not blame or even mention offshore wind as a potential cause of the deaths.
A few weeks ago in Wildwood, four Republican congressmen called for a pause on all offshore projects.
On Monday's Ask Gov. Murphy show on News 12 New Jersey, Murphy said "If you've got no evidence, I think it also holds that there's no reason to pause."
Many residents have raised suspicions that sonar mapping of the seabed for a series of proposed offshore wind energy farms may be confusing the mammals and causing their deaths. However, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Marine Mammal Stranding Center concluded that most of the whale deaths were caused by vessel strikes after finding injuries on the mammals consistent with ship collisions.