TRENTON, N.J. – Armed with a copy of a lawsuit filed by Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration to stop offshore surveys conducted by the oil industry, as well as a Biden administration study and Harvard University report, Assemblyman Antwan McClellan exposed the hypocrisy of Trenton and Washington Democrats and the truths behind the impacts of offshore wind farms.
“Each time Republicans raise any objection to the installation of hundreds of windmills off our beaches, we are told that we are ‘climate deniers’ and that we must industrialize our oceans as fast as possible if we want to save the Earth,” McClellan (R-Cape May) said. “This is simply not true. When we ‘follow the science’ we find more hypocrisy from the left on these issues.”
Assembly Democrats held a ‘science-based’ hearing on the increasing marine mammal deaths off the New Jersey coastline on May 18. Although Republicans were barred from calling their own witnesses, McClellan, who substituted for a member of the panel, pressed invited guests to explain why their testimony conflicted with the government and university studies, and legal arguments.
“The Murphy administration alleges [in a 2018 lawsuit] that using sound equipment to map the ocean floor is very dangerous to marine mammals and should be stopped on the federal court level. What changes his mind from 2018 to 2021 that this equipment is not affecting mammals?” McClellan asked DEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette during the hearing.
LaTourette contended the equipment to survey for offshore wind development is not the same as offshore oil. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) says offshore wind development surveys use a smaller amount of acoustic energy compared to offshore oil; however, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration admitted that any activity that involves adding noise to the ocean could negatively impact marine mammals.
“In 2018, when the oil industry was doing surveys off the coast of another state, the Murphy administration spent taxpayers’ dollars to prevent them from harming marine mammals. Now, in 2023, when offshore wind is conducting surveys in New Jersey, we are told not to worry about the whales and dolphins. The hypocrisy is overwhelming,” McClellan said.
According to BOEM’s impact statement for the Vineyard Wind One offshore wind project in New England, U.S. offshore wind projects would have a limited impact on climate change. Studies by Harvard University illustrate that offshore wind turbines will actually increase surface temperatures and have a greater negative impact than coal and oil on climate change over the next 10 years.
“The effect on global warming is going to be de minimis, why should we go and spend billions of dollars when it will affect a billion dollar fishing industry and a billion dollar tourism industry in Cape May County?” McClellan asked LaTourette, who emphatically replied that the possible impacts to the industries are merely opinions.
McClellan has joined a chorus of state, federal, county and local elected officials up and down the East Coast urging the Murphy and Biden administrations to pause offshore wind development until there is clear and conclusive evidence it is not harming marine life.
“Congressman Jeff Van Drew took the lead on these issues months ago and many other responsible elected officials, including me, Assemblyman Erik Simonsen, Senators Mike Testa and Vince Polistina and Cape May County Commissioner Director Len Desiderio, have been standing up for our coastal communities and urging caution before it is too late,” McClellan said. “The Murphy and Biden administrations have failed to directly and respectfully answer all the questions related to the impacts of offshore wind or provide real evidence that it will not harm marine life and shore economies. This must be done before our entire horizon is covered in wind turbines hundreds of feet tall.”