NEW JERSEY – Senator Anthony M. Bucco criticized Trenton Democrats’ hearing on marine mammal deaths Thursday as a one-sided conversation devoid of critical perspectives.
“After listening to the panel of witnesses today, it was obvious that Democrats stacked the deck in favor of protecting wind farms over whales,” said Bucco (R-25). “There was not a single voice that was critical of any aspect of offshore wind development or its impact on marine mammals. It’s unfortunate that the opposing viewpoints were not even considered. What could have been an open, healthy debate turned into a one-sided conversation.”
The Democrat-led Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology Committee held a hearing Thursday on the impact of offshore wind farms and whale deaths, but failed to include independent, nonpartisan witnesses, Bucco said.
Among the individuals who testified at the hearing was the New Jersey DEP Commissioner who claimed that climate change, not wind farms, was causing the uptick in whale and dolphin deaths. Other witnesses expressed similar beliefs, Bucco said.
New Jersey Senate Republicans hosted an independent hearing on May 3 to discuss the unprecedented surge of whale deaths along the New Jersey Shore. The panel was chaired by Senator Bucco and featured a list of qualified, independent experts and environmental activists.
The NJDEP and wind farm developers were invited to the independent hearing to offer a balanced perspective, but declined to participate, Bucco said.
“Prior to the Senate Republican hearing, we invited stakeholders from both sides of the issue to have an open and transparent discussion, but it seems that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle were not interested in doing that with their hearing today,” Bucco said. “Protecting our environment and preventing further damage to our marine wildlife should not be a partisan issue. Unfortunately, it’s hard to get the full story to guide smart policy decisions when you’re silencing half the voices.”