Jersey Shore legislators hope to save whales, dolphins with proposed sonar testing regulations

Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger and Assemblywoman Victoria Flynn of the 13th Legislative District believe that their new legislative proposal – A5566 – can help prevent future whale and dolphin deaths off of the coast of New Jersey.

The Monmouth legislators’ proposed bill would regulate acoustic sonar surveying and, in addition, stay additional testing during which time the state (by way of the DEP) would create a new permit process for analogous activisites.

“If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the photos and carcasses of marine mammals all along the Jersey Coastline would be enough to fill an encyclopedia,” said Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger. “We already have been calling for an immediate halt of sonar testing, but since that has fallen on deaf ears, we are moving to the next step and seeking to make NJDEP more accountable in the process that they’ve fumbled since the onset of this “green” initiative by the President and Governor.”

Part of the new permitting process would be a suspension of sonar testing permit in the event that a marine mammal dies or is injured. The NJDEP would also be required to investigate, and testing would remain suspending pending the results of the investigation being published.

“It is unmistakably clear; the controversy surrounding these whale and dolphin deaths would have been avoided if the State had initially done its due diligence in researching the impact of sonar technology on marine mammals and not haphazardly ceding the future of New Jersey’s ecosystems to the whims of the federal government,” added Assemblywoman Victoria Flynn.

“Since the State and NJDEP have failed in their obligation to ensure our environment is protected, we are going back to the drawing board and strictly mandating their regulatory processes to implement a change of course,” Flynn continued. “When our legislation is passed, it will offer peace of mind to residents who want to know that the beaches and oceans they love and rely on for tourism dollars are being safeguarded from unwarranted harm.”

Matt Rooney
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MATT ROONEY is's founder and editor-in-chief, a practicing New Jersey attorney, and the host of 'The Matt Rooney Show' on 1210 WPHT every Sunday evening from 7-10PM EST.