Environmental Advocates Blast Van Drew Hearing, Changed Stance on Offshore Wind
Wildwood, NJ — Today, Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Cape May) is holding a hearing in Wildwood on New Jersey’s burgeoning offshore wind industry. Environmental advocates from the Wind Works Coalition have issued the following statements in response:
New Jersey League of Conservation Voters (New Jersey LCV) issued the following statement from Executive Director Ed Potosnak:
“No matter what he says now, Congressmember Jeff Van Drew knows that climate change is the greatest threat to New Jersey, our oceans, communities, habitats, residents, and wildlife. He also knows responsibly developed offshore wind holds the key to powering New Jersey’s future without harming the environment. But unfortunately, the man who took an oath to serve New Jersey has chosen to abandon his constituents and flip-flop on important issues in order to align himself with MAGA Republicans and their friends in the fossil fuel industry.
As Co-chair of the Offshore Wind caucus in the House of Representatives, Van Drew was once regarded as the “most progressive Republican” on climate and environmental issues. Now, he’s a shill for the fossil fuel industry, flip-flopping on his promises to support New Jersey’s growing clean energy economy and pushing lies implying that offshore wind development is killing marine life.
Van Drew knows that the greatest threat to marine wildlife, including our marine mammals, is climate change, and he knows that opponents are putting personal greed over the health and wellbeing of us all. Out-of-state fossil fuel interests have one goal — to protect fossil fuel company profits by delaying New Jersey’s clean energy transition.
As Rep. Van Drew said, “when it comes to the damaging effects of climate change, we must follow the direction of science, and “can’t bury our heads in the sand and pretend that it doesn’t exist.” While he may be choosing to go that route now, that doesn’t change the fact that climate change is real, it’s here, and we’re running out of time to address it. Thankfully, with offshore wind, we can.”
Following are additional quotes from environmental advocates responding to Rep. Van Drew’s hearing:
Richard Lawton, Executive Director — NJ Sustainable Business Council
“Offshore wind will help create a more vibrant and sustainable clean energy economy while also strengthening our national security, since offshore wind energy will be produced and used domestically, so all New Jerseyans should support its responsible development.”
Anjuli Ramos-Busot, Executive Director — Sierra Club
“Responsible offshore wind power in New Jersey has the potential to jumpstart the state’s just transition to clean energy, and will make a significant difference in mitigating our state’s emissions. We are facing an urgent climate crisis that will impact every single New Jerseyan and it would be a missed opportunity to not take advantage of our unique position to capture clean energy off our coasts. We are eager to see this climate solution come to fruition while ensuring careful construction and consideration to communities and wildlife in order to make this transition just.”
Jennifer Coffey, Executive Director — ANJEC
“Climate change is the biggest threat to marine life, healthy oceans, food security, clean water supply, and increased flooding. We need to transition to clean renewable energy to prevent the impacts from becoming exponentially worse. Offshore wind energy positions New Jersey as a leader in fighting climate change by transitioning our energy production to cleaner and greener sources.”
Eileen Murphy, Vice President Government Relations for NJ Audubon
“NJ Audubon works to protect wildlife and conserve and enhance the habitat on which they depend. This includes protecting them from negative impacts due to changes in climate. To meet the protection of wildlife, which includes a move to green energy, NJA continues to support responsible siting of offshore wind projects. The projects approved for construction in NJ fit that requirement. NJA scientists continue to monitor for potential impacts to wildlife, especially birds, off the Atlantic Coast and work with partners in surrounding states to ensure that potential impacts are mitigated or reduced.”
Capt. Paul Eidman, Owner — Reel Therapy Fishing Charters
“Out on the waters of the NY Bight, I witness climate crisis related things all the time, extraordinary rainfall effects on the marine environment, southern species in our waters and or species moving northward out of our region along with heavy metal contaminated seafood consumption warnings. Inconsistent water temperatures and unpredictable winds. Responsibly developed offshore wind power is the fastest way to stall these effects and reduce our dependance on burning fossil fuels for energy and transportation. Crystal clear to me that we need to make changes NOW so that our children and the ecosystem can benefit from our actions.”
Heidi Yeh, Public Policy Director — Pinelands Preservation Alliance
“After over a decade of careful planning, we are eager to see offshore wind finally coming to the Jersey Shore. We have been following the science closely—both the existing long-term studies, as well as new research specific to offshore wind. We are pleased to see that local academic institutions are being tapped to leverage their deep expertise on New Jersey’s coastal ecosystems. New Jersey is blessed with offshore geology and wind speeds that render it a prime vehicle for the state’s energy transition.”
Tom Gilbert — Rethink Energy NJ and NJ Conservation Foundation
“Offshore wind development is an essential component of New Jersey’s transition to a healthier, more prosperous clean energy future,” said Tom Gilbert, campaign director for Rethink Energy and co-executive director of NJ Conservation Foundation. “We must urgently transition away from reliance on fossil fuels that are harming public health and wildlife to clean, renewable energy such as offshore wind while taking all steps necessary to avoid and minimize environmental impacts through sound siting and mitigation measures.”
Anne Poole, President -— New Jersey Environmental Lobby
“New Jersey is in a climate emergency, caused and exacerbated by use of fossil fuels. Emissions from those fuels are responsible for the suffering of New Jersey residents with pulmonary diseases and cancer. For a decade, scientists and engineers have been testing the feasibility of wind farms and assessing the possible impacts on wildlife. For the sake of our state, It is time to stop the misrepresentations. The development of offshore wind energy must move ahead.”