New Jersey skilled construction and building trades workers have an economic boom coming their way thanks to Governor Phil Murphy’s initiative to build offshore wind farms along the Garden State’s coast. Aside from the environmental benefits, the economic windfall is a blessing. Despite the obvious advantages, however, several elected officials are pushing misinformation and downright lies and threatening this huge economic opportunity offered by offshore wind. Governor Murphy and state leaders must forge ahead with the plan in support of our state’s skilled workers
Even though both NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission have found no evidence of environmental harm associated with offshore wind mills, while right wing voices continue to push a false narrative that the building techniques used in the construction of the farms is directly linked to the whale deaths, threatening job opportunities for tens of thousands of New Jersey workers.
It’s no secret that construction-based labor is a vital business here in New Jersey. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2022 jobs categorized as “Construction and Extraction Occupations” account for nearly 120,000 jobs in our state. This includes everything from general construction workers to carpenters, bricklayers, electricians, plumbers, pipelayers, iron and steel workers, painters, and so much more. These are men and women who, quite literally, keep our state up and running, and the construction of offshore wind turbines provides them a chance to continue their contribution to New Jersey’s economy and support their families.
And the opportunities these wind farms will provide are no small matter either. The Board of Public Utilities announced in March that the project will contribute $4.7 billion into the Garden State’s economy and create more than 10,000 new jobs in the process. For workers, this means good paying opportunities to not only build the wind farms, but also maintain them and keep them running, doing our part to help New Jersey make the transition to clean energy. It seems like a home run given our access to the sea and it’s mind boggling that we need to debate the benefits of offshore wind to this extent when it’s clearly a home run for New Jersey’s economy, the environment, and our state’s workforce.
New Jersey skilled construction and building trades workers are ready to get to work on offshore wind. It’s time to let us do our jobs of building a better state for all of us.
Wyatt Earp is the president of the Monmouth and Ocean Central Labor Council.