Scientists have been studying an unusual mortality event for humpback whales along the east coast since 2016.
OCEAN CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Two events centered around offshore wind energy took place on Wednesday, both with two very different viewpoints.
As the Jersey Shore's busy season approaches, the conversations over offshore wind development continue.
An offshore wind technology conference was held at Rowan University in Glassboro, discussing the economic, environmental, and labor impacts of wind energy in New Jersey.
"Europe's been ahead of this for three decades. They've been doing it and there's a race around the world to try to turn back what's going on with climate change," said Steve Sweeney, former senate president and chair of Sweeney Center for Public Policy at Rowan University.
At the same time, New Jersey Senate Republicans held an online hearing addressing concerns over survey work and recent whale and dolphin strandings at the Jersey Shore.
"We don't know that offshore wind activities are causing these deaths. We don't definitively know they're not," said Senator Declan O'Scanlon.
"There's no amount of collateral damage to these wonderful mammals that is acceptable," said Senator Michael Testa.
According to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, eight whales have been stranded in New Jersey so far this year, along with 28 dolphins and two porpoises.
The center says over the last 20 years, there has been an average of seven whale strandings each year in New Jersey.
It also stressed on Wednesday that the final pathology results are still pending in many of the recent deaths.
The head of New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection warned about disinformation, saying climate change and warming oceans are far greater threats than offshore wind.
"The culprit of marine mammal strandings is not the survey work that offshore wind developers are pursuing," said NJDEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette.
Many residents have protested the wind farms, including a rally at the state house in Trenton back in March.
Action News also found residents who welcome the wind farms.
"It's just part of the process of converting to greener sources of electricity," said Joe Artuso of Ocean City.
The state and NOAA have said there's no evidence linking wind farm-related survey activities with recent marine deaths.
Scientists have been studying an unusual mortality event for humpback whales along the East Coast since 2016.