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Pleas to pause wind farm plans over whale deaths have fallen on deaf ears, NJ mayor says: ‘Reeks of hypocrisy’
The mayor of Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., Paul Kanitra, has a theory on what may be behind the mysterious string of whale deaths that has left officials speechless.
Since offshore wind energy development began in December, the region has witnessed 18 whale deaths – a severe uptick that is not a “coincidence,” the New Jersey mayor argues.
“In a normal year, the Jersey Shore coast and in the tri-state area, we have one, two, maybe three whale deaths. Since they started doing this sonar testing, which started in December, we’ve had eight whale deaths off our coast, and that seems a lot more than a coincidence to us,” Kanitra said on “America’s Newsroom,” Friday.
Kanitra said that the offshore wind farms are impacting whales’ echolocation, inhibiting their ability to safely navigate the waters.
“The federal administration and federal scientists are saying that it’s blunt trauma, a lot of these, and that they’re obviously related to boat strikes is how they’re trying to position this. But whales, as we all know, use echo sonar location to navigate. And there are some real concerns about – is this messing with that ability, and that’s what’s actually causing the boat strikes? It’s too much to be a coincidence,” Kunitra explained to co-host Bill Hemmer.
Federal officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) said they were investigating the causes of death but have not yet attributed any whale mortalities to offshore wind activities.
Kanitra added that he is fighting the federal administration’s “hypocrisy” in the whale deaths ordeal – and that is what he “hate[s] the most” about being a “small town mayor.”
“This administration, our federal administration, our governor, and the administration here in New Jersey, if there were this many whale deaths occurring for any other reason, they’d be digging into this. But the reason is because they’re trying to shove these projects through as quickly as possible. And why is that? It’s money,” the East Coast mayor argued.
“This isn’t a mom-and-pop operation. This is a multinational corporation. This is Shell Energy. This is Orsted. And they stand to make billions of dollars from this. So I think that’s the core component here. When you look at the state of New Jersey’s already invested $500 million of taxpayer dollars into infrastructure readying for the project, they’ve committed to buying kilowatt-hours from the project at three times the cost that we’re already paying for energy in New Jersey. It just reeks of hypocrisy.”
Unfortunately, Kanitra and 12 other New Jersey mayors’ plea to put a pause on the project has “fallen on deaf ears.”
“1Twelve mayors from various different backgrounds, up and down the Jersey Shore coast, speaks volumes about how important this is. But it’s not just that – we care a lot about marine life. We’re all very environmentally friendly in Point Pleasant Beach and up and down the coast. It just doesn’t make any sense,” he concluded.
Fox News’ Ashley Carnahan contributed to this report.
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