EnerGeo Alliance Encourages Factual Discourse in Letter to New Jersey in Advance of Assembly Marine Mammal Strandings Hearing

As New Jersey looks to develop alternative energies offshore in response to carbon reduction policy goals, geoscience activities are integral to achieving those goals.

Trenton, New Jersey, U.S., May 17, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The EnerGeo Alliance sent the following letter to New Jersey Governor Philip Murphy and Assemblyman Christopher Tully, Chairman of the state’s Committee on Science, Innovation and Technology to address misconceptions that offshore wind geoscience surveys have contributed to marine mammal deaths on New Jersey’s shore and the Atlantic Coast. The letter was sent in advance of the Assembly’s Science, Innovation and Technology Committee’s hearing on marine mammal deaths scheduled for Thursday May 18, 2023.

EnerGeo Alliance’s letter provides the Governor and the Committee with facts showing no link between seismic and other geoscience surveys for offshore wind projects and the recent marine mammal deaths, as well as historical evidence showing that geoscience surveys have been conducted extensively for over six decades in the U.S. and around the world without any direct harm to marine mammal populations. The following statements are excerpts from the letter written by EnerGeo Alliance President Nikki Martin.

“The marine mammal deaths in New Jersey are a tragedy, but we will have failed ourselves and the Atlantic’s marine mammals if we do not study what has happened thoroughly and impartially. EnerGeo stands ready to work together and provide its expertise to support any efforts that prioritize facts, science, and the best available data to determine what happened, why, and how, so we can better protect marine mammal populations.

“Geoscience work contributes to the marine sciences, and our focus is always on operating in a manner that minimizes disturbance to the marine ecosystem. That fact has been lost in recent media coverage, which has focused on unfounded statements which immediately blamed offshore wind survey activities for the whale stranding deaths without any evidence to support these claims. In fact, in some cases, offshore wind surveys were blamed for these deaths before necropsies could be carried out on the whales. While various suggestive speculations about possible adverse impacts from offshore geoscience surveys have been promoted over the past 15‐20 years, the fact remains that the hypothetical impacts still have not been confirmed, despite extensive efforts to assess them.

“It is important here to note that the independent federal body charged with protecting the animals, the Marine Mammal Commission, recently stated that, ‘Despite several reports in the media, there is no evidence to link these strandings to offshore wind energy development.’ It further described the deaths as, ‘not new, nor are they unique to the U.S. Atlantic coast.’ For example, over 180 humpback whales have stranded along the East Coast since 2016, with 10 or more humpback whales beached each year since then, peaking at 34 in 2017. Offshore wind surveys weren’t operating during almost all of that period. Those whales which underwent post-mortems were killed by vessel strikes or fishing gear entanglement, or the cause could not be determined. The Atlantic waters near where the whales washed ashore have some of the nation’s heaviest ship traffic, heading in and out of the ports of New York and New Jersey and Newark.

“Further, significant funding has gone into research regarding marine mammal interaction with sound, including that from seismic surveys. The BOEM has spent more than $50 million on protected species and noise‐related research without finding evidence of adverse effects. The geoscience and petroleum & natural gas industries, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Navy, and others have spent a comparable amount on researching potential impacts of seismic surveys on marine life and have found no evidence of adverse effects…As New Jersey and the nation look to develop alternative energies offshore in response to carbon reduction policy goals, geoscience activities are integral to achieving those goals.”

To read the entire letter, click here https://energeoalliance.org/advocacy/comments/#americas.


About the EnerGeo Alliance
Founded in 1971, EnerGeo is the Alliance of geoscience companies, innovators and energy developers that use earth science to discover, develop, and deliver energy and low carbon solutions, sustainably, to our world. We are a non-partisan non-profit that advocates for geoscience-driven energy policies that connect more people and communities to accessible energy around the world.


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