East Coast mayors and lawmakers have joined with environmental activists in a bid to put an end to an unprecedented rash of whale deaths, which they fear may be due to the construction of offshore wind farms.
On Tuesday, Ocean City, Maryland’s mayor and town council called on the Biden Administration to institute a moratorium on the development of offshore wind farms, expressing concerns about “the unknown effects on whales, other species, such as the Atlantic Horseshoe Crab and migratory birds, that could be affected”:
“Ocean City insists that all approvals and construction of wind farms off our coast be delayed until all environmental issues, economic concerns, and view shed options be fully explored, and these projects are relocated to more suitable lease areas further offshore.”
Lawmakers up and down the East Coast are calling for a moratorium and a study of whether the offshore windfarms are killing whales, Delmarva Now reports:
“Ocean City is just the latest location to call for a review of offshore wind developments after Reps. Andy Harris, R-Md-1st, and Chris Smith, R-NJ, called for such a moratorium. Whales have washed ashore along the coast in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and most recently, Virginia. In addition, 12 New Jersey mayors have also passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on all offshore wind activity.”
Clean Ocean Action (COA), an environmental conservation group, has reportedly released a statement reporting that the number of whale carcasses that have washed ashore in the region over the last two months is the highest count in nearly fifty years:
“This alarming number of deaths is unprecedented in the last half century, the only unique factor from previous years, is the excessive scope, scale, and magnitude of offshore wind powerplant activity in the region.”
In January, COA, sent a letter to President Joe Biden, demanding a moratorium of offshore wind construction and an investigation into wind farms’ connection to whale deaths.
In the letter, supported by several additional organizations, COA says that the construction of offshore wind turbines appears to be the only new threat to the whales to have emerged concurrent with the rash of whale deaths:
“Seven whales washing-up on the New Jersey/New York coastline in just over a month is unprecedented. As concerning, none of the whales exhibited obvious causes of death such as ship strikes, entanglements, or predator attacks.
“With one major exception, no clear differences can explain or suggest this alarming number of deaths in the region. The exception is the ongoing geological seafloor-mapping and surveying and other pre-construction and construction actions by numerous offshore wind energy developers.”
Noise from the construction of offshore wind farms is particularly harmful to whales and other marine life, Fox News reports:
“Activist groups like the Protect Our Coast NJ, Save Right Whales, and others have voiced concerns that coastal wind turbines built amid a Biden administration push for green energy are hurting an already endangered species.
“‘Marine mammals (whales, porpoise, seals) are sensitive to underwater sound and are extremely vulnerable to harm during offshore wind construction. Damage to their hearing kills their ability to navigate and communicate permanently,’ according to Protect Our Coast NJ website.”
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