An “open letter” to New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
I saw a wonderful tribute you wrote about a member of the NJ Pinelands Commission who recently passed away. The pine barrens reference reminded me of a time in the 1970s when powerful interests were advocating leveling the New Jersey pine barrens to construct a major jetport to serve New York and Philadelphia. This would have spelled the end of the pristine million acres pine barrens wilderness area.
Governor Brendan Byrne personally got involved and led legislative actions that not only saved the pine barrens but with the help of ex-governor, and then Congressman Jim Florio had the pine barrens designated as a National Reserve thereby insuring its preservation to this day and in the future.
Governor Byrne was immensely proud of his efforts to save the pine barrens. He was often quoted saying “One hundred years from now this is what I’ll be remembered for.” A legacy to be proud of.
I couldn’t help but draw parallels to what’s a stake with the planned construction of the turbine wind farms off the jersey coast and how the outcome of that fight might define your legacy. I imagine you would like it to read something like “he was a leader in the environmental movement to reduce climate change and placed New Jersey in the forefront of that movement.” That would be something to be proud of if it were true, but sadly it’s not. Even Orsted’s own Environmental Impact Statement says the wind farms will have “little to no effect on global warming.”
If left unabated your legacy will likely be along the lines of: he industrialized the ocean, devastated commercial fishing, threatened populations of endangered marine life, significantly increased electricity costs and transferred a billion dollars in rate relief to a $42 billion foreign company. Lastly, and the most significant of all will be he changed the face of the Jersey shore and a cherished way of life forever.
The good news is there is time to stop this madness and rewrite the future, even without a visit from Marley’s Ghost. Look into the future and envision a vibrant jersey shore, full of beach going families, thriving commercial and recreational fishing and increasing tourism. You can make that vision a reality.
The final chapter of your legacy has yet to be written, but when it is, like Governor Byrne make it one you’ll be proud to own for the next 100 years.
Born and raised in South Jersey, Bob Birdsall is an avid duck hunter, fisherman, author and outdoor photographer who resides in Barnegat Light with wife Jean. He is a member of the Barnegat Light Volunteer Fire Department, as well as the organizations Save LBI and Save the East Coast. If you would like to submit a Guest Editor’s Log or opinion for consideration to appear in a future edition of The Fisherman Magazine, email (630 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org.