Dead whales are now a political issue.
With dead whales – and dolphins too – regularly washing up on New Jersey beaches, the cause of the problem may depend on your political perspective.
Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a once-Democrat turned MAGA-Republican, knows where he stands.
Van Drew, who represents a huge chunk of south Jersey, last month convened a public hearing in Wildwood to hear from those who said they knew what was up.
Wind turbines and by extension, the off-shore wind industry, and by further extension, the so-called climate change agenda.
That’s the culprit.
Fighting “green energy” is red meat for many right-wing Republicans and the hearing certainly accomplished that.
On the other hand, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, says there is no link between whale deaths and offshore wind.
In the case of New Jersey, there is not even any ongoing wind turbine construction. What is happening is underwater surveying in preparation for construction.
So, the argument – presumably – is that underwater noise is so disconcerting to whales that some of them end up dead.
The state’s nine Democratic members of the House are not buying it.
All signed a letter sent on Wednesday to the White House Council on Environmental Quality asking it to do more to address the real problem – “vessel strikes and entanglements.”
The nine Democratic reps said that rising ocean temperatures force whales to move north.
That can be problematic because the massive mammals are then closer to shipping lanes to New Jersey and New York ports, which move more cargo than any other container ports in the country. That can’t be stopped, but the letter asks the administration to do a better job regulating the speed of vessels. The letter also says commercial fishing lines and pollution – mainly from plastics – are endangering whales and other sea life.
The letter says that the NOAA “has long stated that boats and ships are striking, injuring and killing marine mammals.”
Then, there is a larger, political point.
“Opponents are funding attempts to blame offshore wind pre-construction activity for marine mammal deaths without scientific evidence.”
As we know, politics and science are not always on the same page.