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ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS GATHERED IN LONG BRANCH TO SHOW THEIR OVERWHELMING SUPPORT FOR  RESPONSIBLE OFFSHORE WIND DEVELOPMENT AND MARINE MAMMAL PROTECTION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
June 10, 2023

Contact: Jackie.Greger@sierraclub.org, Michelle.Peal@njlcv.org, jcoffey@anjec.org
 

LONG BRANCH, NJ – A coalition of environmental advocates, elected leaders, faith based activists, and other supporters gathered in Long Branch, New Jersey today for a rally to show their overwhelming support for responsibly developed offshore wind. All expressed the need for New Jersey to move toward a 100% clean energy future - including offshore wind - to mitigate the impacts of climate change, create good family-sustaining jobs, and improve the overall health of communities.

 

Offshore wind advocates also advocated for policies that will help protect marine life, including addressing vessel strikes, abandoned fishing gear, plastic pollution, and mitigating climate change, including with offshore wind. Advocates continue to combat misinformation campaigns that have attempted to without evidence tie offshore wind energy development to the unusual mortality event of marine mammals that began well before offshore wind energy development. 

The speakers included New Jersey DEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette, New Jersey Senator Andrew Zwicker, former Senate President Steve Sweeney, New Jersey Assemblyman Wayne DeAnjelo, Atlantic County Commissioner Caren Fitzpatrick, Danielle Holland from Greenpeace, Phil Radford from Sierra Club, and Reverend Ronald Tuft from GreenFaith. 

 

The speakers emphasized the following in their remarks:

  • The three proposed wind projects (Ocean Wind 1 and 2 and Atlantic Shores) will generate enough clean electricity to power two million homes directly in New Jersey.  

  • The average wind farm is expected to create 4,300 family-sustaining jobs and add $702 million to the state’s economy. 

  • Clean energy will mean healthier communities, especially for Black and Brown residents who suffer the most from polluted air.

  • Climate change is the greatest threat to marine wildlife. Changing ecosystems push marine mammals closer to our shores and into dangerous, busy shipping lanes and ports where they are vulnerable to vessel strikes. 

  • Now is the time to transition to a clean energy economy and offshore wind is our greatest climate solution.

 

Quotes from offshore wind supporters:
 

“Today’s rally makes it clear that we will not let disinformation from Republicans in Congress and Big Oil distract us from our nation’s transition to a clean energy economy. By investing in clean energy, including offshore wind, we have the chance to revitalize manufacturing and create new, good-paying jobs right here in New Jersey. Republicans in Congress and the fossil fuel industry are using the deaths of marine mammals to mislead the public about this important transition. Every day we spend debating their disinformation campaign is another day the North Atlantic right whale gets closer to extinction. We know the climate crisis is here, and the biggest threats to marine mammals are the warming oceans, vessel strikes, and entanglements with fishing gear. As ocean temperatures rise, the food sources marine mammals depend on are moving closer to busy shipping lanes in New Jersey and New York," said Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06)


“The terrible smoke we've seen this week is not going to be a one-time occurrence. As we’ve seen  hurricanes and flooding become more extreme and more frequent in recent years, we’ll also see more wildfires and smoke events. This is beyond an environmental crisis, but a public health crisis. Yet, projects like the offshore wind farm give me hope. There are some who would like to see us delay those actions. They’ll say things like, “America is not  ready,” and then turn around and demand an expansion of our fossil fuel infrastructure. And so, the fight for a clean energy future will not be an easy one. The fight is worth it. A clean and safe environment is  worth it. Our children’s future is worth it. We’re at the defining  moment in the fight to provide our children and grandchildren with a healthy, livable world. The actions we take now will determine what that world looks like,” said Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12).


“The reality is that New Jersey is at the center of this emerging new industry and is quickly emerging as a regional and national hub for offshore wind.  In addition to the climate benefits of this clean source of energy, offshore wind is a once-in a generation opportunity that will create thousands of jobs across the supply chain and inject billions of dollars into our economy.  And when completed, clean wind energy will power millions of homes, reduce pollution from burning fossil fuels, and become part of a cleaner and safer energy future for generations to come,” said Senator Andrew Zwicker (NJ-16). 


“Over the next decade, we will see offshore wind farms built off the Atlantic Seaboard from New England to Virginia as part of a diversified energy portfolio that is essential to meeting our goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change. We have moved aggressively as a state over the past five years to put ourselves in position to be the national leader in both offshore wind development and job creation. But the competition between states is increasingly fierce, and we need to make sure we preserve our early advantage. With New York and other states allowing offshore wind developers to use federal offshore wind tax credits, we need to enact legislation to do the same to make sure that the EEW AOS monopile manufacturing facility in Paulsboro is able to expand, increase union jobs and supply our offshore wind farms with New Jersey-made components. We need to keep New Jersey the leader in offshore wind," said former Senate President Steve Sweeney.


“Misinformation has consequences in the real world. The fossil fuel-funded falsehoods about offshore wind are delaying our move toward a clean energy economy, leading to healthier communities, increased domestic control over energy production, and the creation of good, local, family-sustaining jobs,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director, New Jersey LCV. “The haze from the wildfires we’ve experienced this week is our new reality if we don’t address climate change today. It's long past time to stop our reliance on dirty fossil fuels and move toward an equitable clean energy future - including responsibly developed offshore wind - to stop the most disastrous effects of climate change.”


“As we have seen over New Jersey’s unseasonably warm winter, weeks of wildfires and hazardous air quality, climate change is at our doorsteps. The NJ Wind Works Rally has mobilized a movement of New Jerseyans, grassroots climate activists, local community members, union leaders, and advocates to take a stand for climate action, clean energy, and science overall,” said Anjuli Ramos-Busot, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “Offshore wind is an economic and environmental boon for our state, creating thousands of local green jobs, kickstarting a new American industry, and mitigating climate change. We cannot let fossil-fuel funded groups delay our clean energy transition any longer if we are to preserve a livable environment and future for generations to come.”


"Wind energy is a critical part of transitioning away from fossil fuels to clean renewable energy sources. Transforming our energy sources to clean and green ones will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help end the climate crisis," said Jennifer M. Coffey, ANJEC Executive Director.

“Offshore wind is a critical component in the transition to a more sustainable clean energy economy." said Richard Lawton, Executive Director of the NJ Sustainable Business Council. "New Jersey is perfectly positioned to reap the tremendous economic, environmental and national security benefits from offshore wind development. We can’t afford to let myopic partisan politics and misinformation stand in the way of capitalizing on the opportunity for the creation of new businesses and thousands of good paying local jobs, cleaner air for all, and enhanced national security by developing this locally produced and consumed source of renewable energy.”

“Our planet is on fire right now due to climate change, at the same time that New Jersey is battling sea level rise. Opponents of offshore wind energy offer no solutions. It is time that they face reality and stop lying to the public,” said Anne Poole, President, New Jersey Environmental Lobby.

“We support our state’s leadership in the responsible development of renewable energy resources on both land and water. Addressing climate change through an energy transition is sorely needed to protect the Pinelands, the ocean, and everything in between, said Heidi Yeh, Public Policy Director, Pinelands Preservation Alliance.

“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."

“If we're going to have dependable clean electricity, we need diversity in our power generation, not just solar not just batteries, we need to include wind turbines and the time is now,” said Wyatt Earp IBEW Third District International Representative.

"UU Faith Action NJ  supports utility-scale offshore wind projects as a practical, economical, and relatively fast way to make a meaningful cut in our reliance on fossil fuels", said Charles Loflin, Executive Director, UU Faith Action NJ. "In the name of social justice we must take action to reduce the causes of climate change which harm our health and damage natural systems that we depend upon for life and which impact poor communities and communities of color disproportionately.”

"Today we are proud to stand with our brothers and sisters in labor, environmental advocates, and community members in support of offshore wind," said Deb Coyle, Executive Director of NJ Work Environment Council. "Offshore wind is critical to reaching New Jersey's clean energy goals and will create thousands of good paying, union jobs that will strengthen our communities."

"Offshore wind embodies the goals of the Jersey Renews coalition. It will create thousands of union jobs and revitalize communities all while powering hundreds of thousands of New Jersey homes with clean energy," said Drew Tompkins, Director of the Jersey Renews Coalition. "We must ensure that projects are supported and completed to reach our state's clean energy economy goals."

“The Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters is proud to partner with so many organizations  in support offshore wind because of the good-paying union jobs that will be created by this new industry,” said Executive Secretary-Treasurer William C. Sproule. “Our union has been a leader in investing in the workforce development needed to meet the safety and skill requirements required for New Jersey workers to work on these projects. Our expansion of the Thomas C. Ober Training Center in Hammonton and opening of the only union commercial dive school east of the Mississippi in Sicklerville is allowing New Jersey the ability to become the foremost leader in creating opportunity for workers through offshore wind.”

"We have been in a Code Red moment for our skies across New Jersey this week, and we are in a Code Red moment for our climate. We need to follow climate science and move rapidly off fossil fuels to power our economy. Offshore wind off the Jersey Shore, responsibly developed, can provide the largest source of new 100% clean energy for the state and entire electric grid. Climate change impacts are darkening our skies and we need to make New Jersey an offshore wind hub to make clean energy a reality so we can stop digging the climate hole deeper," said Doug O'Malley, Director of Environment New Jersey.

 

“As a believer in the sanctity of all life, I am deeply saddened by the deaths of whales and dolphins off our coast in recent weeks. However, we must face the fact that climate change and global warming are attributing to the drastic weather changes, ecosystems collapses, and food insecurity for both humans and wildlife alike,” said Rev. Ronald Tuff, GreenFaith Alliance NJ. “We must create a new future with renewable energy sources like offshore wind and not get dismayed by those who wish to distract us from the true crises. We are all threatened if we do not act to save our planet."

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