(TheLastPatriotNews.com) – A recent spate of whale strandings along the East Coast of the US has created a divide within the environmental movement as conservationists fight to stop the construction of large offshore wind farms. At the same time, advocates argue that these renewable energy projects will help to save the planet from the impacts of climate change.
In the last month, seven whales, mostly humpbacks, have washed up on the shores of New Jersey and New York, breaking records in a region that would typically see a similar number of beached whales over an entire year.
Some environmentalists believe that underwater surveys and other preparatory work for installing wind turbines, such as blasting air guns into the ocean floor, could disrupt the whale migration and feeding patterns and cause injury or stranding.
However, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, pushing an ambitious renewable energy plan for the state that includes the construction of several large offshore wind sites, has rejected calls to halt the projects in response to the whale deaths.
This position is supported by top environmental groups such as the National Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club, which believe that renewable energy is necessary to end dependence on fossil fuels and to stop climate change, which they see as a threat to all life, including whales.
Despite their long-standing commitment to wildlife conservation, especially for endangered species, these groups have now prioritized renewable energy production, including offshore wind farms.
The Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and other environmental groups sit alongside offshore wind companies on the steering committee of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance, which seeks to develop enough offshore wind energy to help the state achieve its goal of a 100% emissions-free grid by 2040.
However, this raises the question of whether these groups would express concern about the impact of offshore wind projects on whale populations, given their close association with wind companies and their commitment to ending the use of fossil fuels.
This has led to criticism from some environmental groups, who are calling for a halt to all ocean-related wind projects until independent scientists can conduct a federal investigation into the whale deaths.
Despite these concerns, President Biden’s renewable energy plan calls for deploying 30,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2030, providing power for more than 10 million homes and reducing CO2 emissions by 78 million metric tons.
Planning is underway for millions of acres of offshore wind farms from Maine to North Carolina, with a large portion slated for the area between Long Island and the New Jersey coast, where the whales have been washing ashore.
While no offshore wind projects are in operation yet, the pre-construction work for these wind farms, which involves mapping the ocean floor with geotechnical survey boats, has led to fears that the loud sounds from the ships could be damaging the whales’ hearing and interfering with their communications.
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) January 29, 2023