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Morris County Commissioner Mastrangelo says Offshore Wind Project Should be Halted Pending Oversight, Dead Whales, Economics are Concerns

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Montville NJ, With dead mammals washing up on New Jersey beaches and with a lack of financial details on the state’s offshore wind farm program, the Ocean First project should be halted until there is legislative oversight of the project said Morris County Commissioner and State Senate candidate Thomas Mastrangelo.

“If I were in the legislature now, I would demand deeper scrutiny of the Ocean Wind project focusing on its environmental impact and a thorough review of the eventual cost to consumers of electric power,” said Mastrangelo, who is seeking the Republican nomination to the state senate for Legislative District 26, which spans eastern Morris and western Passaic counties.

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“I don’t know how much more evidence the present legislators need to realize that the governor’s pet wind project could very well turn out to be an ecological and financial disaster,” said Mastrangelo, a member of the Morris County Board of Commissioners since 2011.

“Why haven’t we heard from Sen. Joe Pennacchio ( the incumbent senator for LD -26) on this very important project? ” asked Mastrangelo. “He’s been in the legislature for two decades and he doesn’t see that dead whales are an obvious warning sign that something is wrong.”

Nine Humpback whales have washed up on New Jersey and New York beaches in the past two months; at least six were found in New Jersey, along with three common dolphins that were found dead on a beach in Sandy Hook. The East Coast has now seen 22 humpback whale strandings since December, according to published reports.

Some environmentalists say the whales’ deaths are caused by sonar activity used by the windmill contractor Orsted, a Danish firm that Gov. Murphy’s former firm Goldman Sachs is heavily invested in. The whale strandings prompted a dozen New Jersey shore area mayors to write to federal and state officials asking for an immediate moratorium on offshore wind development.


Other red flags about the project, said Mastrangelo, are the lack of financial transparency on the wind project and the power that the legislature gave to the state Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to override local zoning ordinances to allow the powerlines from the windfarm to connect to onshore power plants.

“The Murphy Administration is deaf to the concerns of beach communities, the environmentalists, the homeowners and businesses that will have to pay for electricity from the windmills,” said Mastrangelo. “That does not mean the state legislature should fail to do its job to get and answers to vital question about the wind project.”


A legislative investigation should also focus on the economic viability of the wind farm project, continued Mastrangelo. He noted that Ørsted told analysts in November that its anticipated return on U.S. projects, including Ocean Wind 1 off New Jersey, is “not where we want it to be.”
New Jersey’s largest utility company – the Public Service Enterprise Group Inc., which had a 25 percent interest in Ocean Winds, recently sold its share back to Orsted after telling analysts in October that it was reviewing its options and project costs before making a final investment decision, according to the Wall Street Journal.


Mastrangelo noted that Gov Murphy’s former firm Goldman Sachs has been heavily invested in Orsted since 2013. In 2021 Goldman’s advisors issued a “Buy” rating on Orsted, formerly known as DONG. “Is the governor’s overwhelming enthusiasm for the project and his reluctance to acknowledge that there may be problems with the offshore wind construction influenced by his friends at Goldman?” asked Mastrangelo

“All anyone in the legislature needs to do is connect the dots and they will come to the conclusion that this project is being forced down the throats of New Jersey residents with likely negative consequences,” said Mastrangelo.

“New Jersey does not need passive legislators; it needs legislators who are willing to fight for people. Right now, I don’t see a lot of fight in some Republican lawmakers,” said Mastrangelo.

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