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As whale deaths rise, Senate Republicans call for temporary halt to wind farm survey work

NEW JERSEY – Senate Republicans are calling for Governor Phil Murphy to temporarily halt wind farm development work that might be linked to a sudden spike in whale deaths in the area.

“Senate Republicans are deeply concerned by the surge of whale deaths that has occurred since December in the waters and on the beaches of the Jersey Shore and neighboring states,” said Senate Republican Leader Steven Oroho (R-24). “As many of my colleagues have pointed out, the only change in our waters recently has been the start of survey work for the construction of offshore wind farms. It seems like too big of a coincidence to ignore, especially when some of the impacted whales are endangered.”

Oroho said Senate Republicans are calling for Governor Murphy to issue a 30-day moratorium on wind farm development to help understand if that work is responsible for a large increase in whale deaths in the region.

At least ten dead whales have washed ashore on beaches in New Jersey and New York since December, while the stranding deaths of several dolphins last week at Sandy Hook raised additional concerns.

Some environment groups, including Clean Ocean Action, have warned the deaths could be linked to underwater surveys that are being conducted for the construction of large offshore wind farms just miles off the Jersey Shore.

Surveys of the ocean floor often include the use of sonar mapping, drilling, and seismic testing, all of which may disrupt the ability of whales and other marine animals to navigate safely, possibly leading to the spike of deadly groundings and vessel strikes.

“We believe the fastest and easiest way to determine if there is a link between wind farm development and the spike in whale deaths is to halt surveying for 30 days,” Oroho said. “If the trend in whale deaths changes during that time, we’ll have data to guide further action and a more thorough investigation. And if we don’t see a change, a delay of a few weeks is a small price to pay to ensure that we’re being good stewards of our ocean environment and taking reasonable steps to protect endangered whales. To put it simply, there’s no good reason for Governor Murphy to keep doing nothing.”

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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