🔴Rep. Frank Pallone & Sen. Cory Booker led a discussion blaming climate change

🔴Two conservative groups said it flew banner planes in Atlantic City

🔴Rep. Frank Pallone & Sen. Cory Booker led a discussion blaming climate change

With at least 28 dolphins and 13 whales having been found dead on the New York and New Jersey shore there continues to be a sharp divide about whether climate change or increased work related to wind turbines including sonar mapping might be to blame.

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J. 6th District, and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. spoke at a forum in Long Branch blaming climate change and shipping for the deaths. Pallone bluntly said that science does not support a link between the wind-farm development and the deaths.

"Climate change is the biggest threat to marine mammals," Pallone said. "As the world transitions to a clean economy, there’s simply no logical reason to put our coastal communities and ocean ecosystems at risk with unnecessary and dangerous drilling off our coast that could drench our oceans and marine wildlife in oil and increase emissions. That’s exactly why we must continue to transition to a clean economy and develop renewable energy sources.”

Pallone and others said that as water temperatures rise, fish species that whales prey upon have been moving into different areas, bringing whales more frequently into the path of heavily traveled shipping lanes off the East Coast.

“They're having a picnic in the Parkway. They're getting hit," Ed Potosnak of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters said.

Anjuli Ramos-Busot, director for the New Jersey Sierra Club, said it was "unfair" to blame the wind projects for the deaths as it serves the interests of fossil fuel interests.

“We must pursue real solutions to protect marine wildlife such as finalizing strong vessel speed restrictions and curbing the impacts of climate change. One of the best ways we can fight climate change is through the equitable and safe development of renewable energy through our bedrock environmental laws and regulations," Ramos-Busot said.

According to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, it has been a month since a dead whale has been spotted. The last one was March 24 when a decomposed pygmy sperm whale was stranded in Ocean City

The most recent dolphin strandings in New Jersey
The most recent dolphin strandings in New Jersey (Canva)

Earth Day celebration

On the other side of the issue are politicians and those who want the wind projects to take a pause until further study can determine their impact.

The conservative groups Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow and Heartland Institute sponsored a banner plane flying over Atlantic City on Saturday with the website “SAVE-WHALES-STOP-WINDMILLS.ORG,"  according to the New York Post. They also put up a billboard on the Black Horse Pike in Pleasantville with the same message

“Let’s hope some court steps in to, at a minimum, place an injunction against any continued offshore wind energy development until proper environmental studies can be conducted,” Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow president David Rucker said in a statement.

U.S. Reps. Chris Smith, R-N.J. 4th District, and Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J. 2nd District, plus many Shore mayors have called for a moratorium in the work until a possible connection can be investigated.

Potosnak and Gov. Phil Murphy accuse those who want a moritorium of spreading misinformation.

(Includes material copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Locations of 13 whales that have washed up on NJ/NY beaches since December or been spotted floating in the water
Locations of 13 whales that have washed up on NJ/NY beaches since December or been spotted floating in the water (Canva)

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

How much your school district gets under Murphy's proposed 2024 budget

Gov. Phil Murphy's porposed 2024 budget includes $1 billion in new spending for school funding including pre-K funding, pension and benefits, and an additional $832 million in K-12 aid, which is listed below by county and district.

LOOK: Food and Personal Care Shortages We Could See In 2023

Learn about the 13 potential shortages that could impact stores in 2023, from produce and meat to snacks and beverages.

LOOK: 50 songs you won't believe are turning 50 this year

From classic rock anthems to disco hits and everything in between, Stacker surveyed Billboard's Hot 100 list of top songs in 1973 and highlighted the top 50.

More From 105.7 The Hawk