Here are some critical facts regarding offshore wind projects and the safety of whales.
Scientists from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and independent academic institutions have all stated that there is “no evidence” that offshore wind vessels caused any whale mortalities.
Off the Maryland-Delaware coast, offshore wind companies finished their geophysical surveys at sea nearly a year ago with no marine mammal incidents.
Their vessels include protected species observers who watch for whales and other protected species and halt work when they are in the area.
Whale mortalities are also occurring in North Carolina, Florida, Oregon, and California — states that have no offshore wind projects at all.
In fact, the fourth whale to wash ashore on the West Coast was found Sunday.
Marine mammals do face severe threats. NOAA has stated that entanglements in commercial fishing gear — not offshore wind — are the primary cause of North Atlantic right whale mortalities.
Whales are also known to be moving closer to commercial shipping lanes in pursuit of another food source, menhaden, which puts them at greater risk of encountering commercial cargo ships.
The foremost threat is ocean acidification caused by a changing climate.
Ocean acidification is associated with a 50 percent drop in the krill populations that are a critical whale food source. Transitioning to clean energy sources like offshore wind enables us to reduce our dependence on the fossil fuels that acidify our oceans.
Whales deserve our protection but protecting them can only happen if we have a clear understanding of the facts and the actual threats they face. Only then can we all work together toward sensible solutions.
Offshore Wind Alliance