Congressman pushes for moratorium on offshore windWritten by Nick Blenkey
A New Jersey congressman who is no fan of what he calls “windmills” has been named Vice Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and has made it clear that he will use the position to press for a moratorium on offshore wind development.
“Through this role, I will investigate the impacts offshore wind industrialization may have on our environment, maritime safety, and energy prosperity,” declared Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R.-N.J.) on being named to the vice chairmanship on February 2.
That same day, Van Drew and Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) made calls for the immediate halt of all offshore wind activity until proper investigations are held.
“It must be discovered if windmill construction is a contributing factor to the fourteen whales that have washed ashore along the east coast since December 1,” they said a statement
“From the beginning, I have expressed my concerns and opposition with offshore windfarms moving forward without substantial evidence to show how it will affect our environment, our industries, and marine life,” said Van Drew. “And now, attention is finally being drawn to the industrialization of our coastline because of these tragic whale deaths. Not a single concern has been raised by our president or environmentalists after another whale washed ashore this week, amounting to fourteen on the east coast in less than two months. Why has there not been an investigation? Why have Democrats been silent on the issue? We must investigate these deaths and get to the bottom if offshore wind activity is the cause; all offshore wind activity must end immediately until proper examinations and investigations are conducted.”
Subsequently, on February 17, Van Drew announced that he will be holding a first hearing in South Jersey on March 16th on offshore wind projects being built off the coast of New Jersey.
He also said that he will be introducing legislation that places a moratorium on all existing projects and legislation that will prohibit all future projects.
Attempts to link offshore wind development operations to whale deaths along the Atlantic Coast are not supported by the science.
“Claims linking the offshore wind industry to these deaths are misleading and not supported by the facts and evidence.” said National Ocean Industries President Erik Milito, in a recent statement. “As detailed in a recent report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Atlantic Coast has been experiencing an unusual whale mortality event since at least 2016, well before offshore wind development was initiated in these areas. The unfortunate reality of the current situation, according to NOAA, is that the leading causes of the whale deaths are entanglements and vessel strikes.”