Hundreds of whales are being killed by the offshore wind industry, and it’s been given a license to do so, with complete impunity. Let’s call it a ‘green light’ for industrial murder.
Offshore outfits along the US Atlantic coast have clocked up something like 178 whale fatalities since construction began and their turbines first started operating back in 2016.
Among the casualties are Humpbacks, Sperm whales and the rare and endangered North Atlantic Right whale.
The whales are being deafened during the construction process, thanks to underwater sonar blasting, and the constant low-frequency noise and vibration these things generate during operation interfere with their (sonar-dependent) navigational ability.
But, as it did with rare and endangered Eagles, the wind industry has been literally granted a license to kill.
In the case of whales, they’re called an ‘Incidental Harassment Authorisation’ – an innocuous-sounding euphemism, which cleverly varnishes over the fact that the wind industry is needlessly killing dozens of whales every year. In the case of America’s endangered Eagles, they call them ‘take permits’.
Finally, though it appears that people with some kind of environmental conscience are taking the wind industry and their political enablers, to task.
7th dead whale washes up at Jersey Shore. Calls to stop offshore wind work grow
14 January 2023
The seventh dead whale in just over a month has washed up on the New York-New Jersey coastline, a local photographer and a climate group told NJ Advance Media on Friday.
The humpback whale, the resident said, washed up at a beach in Brigantine.
“This was at the far north end of Brigantine,” said Connie Pyatt, who noted that the whale was dead.
The dead whale washed up just miles from where another whale was found in Atlantic City on Saturday — which itself washed up blocks away from where another humpback whale was found in December.
The Marine Mammal Stranding Center, a non-profit organization which is authorized by the state to rescue marine mammals and respond to whale strandings, did not immediately provide comment Friday.
In a summary of the incident, the center said Friday the whale was first reported Jan. 12 at 4:50 p.m.
“When staff arrived, they found the 20-25 foot long carcass upside down in the surf. Due to the incoming tide and low light last night, staff returned at daybreak this morning to take photos,” the center said. “After a conference call with NOAA Fisheries and Greater Atlantic Region Stranding Network members to work out logistics, plans are underway for a necropsy to be performed on the animal.”
The Marine Mammal Stranding Center, which indicated it will post updates on the latest stranding, said it will revisit the area to take samples and measurements at the next low tide but asked for patience due to a small staff.
“These results can take several months to come back before a cause of death can be determined, if at all,” the center said, noting that residents should not approach the area for their own safety.
The stranding comes amid outcry from climate groups who said Monday in Atlantic City that six dead whales in five weeks demands a full stop of offshore wind development for an investigation. Groups worry pre-construction of offshore wind turbines may be causing harm to marine life due to the noise and sonar that can be emitted during survey work, as well as the potential for vessel strikes.
Cindy Zipf, executive director of Long Branch-based non-profit, Clean Ocean Action, said the group was also aware of the whale that washed up in Brigantine on Friday and were sending organizers to the site.
“This is bad news on top of bad news,” Zipf told NJ Advance Media on Friday over the phone.
“This is devastating and shows even more urgency to our call to action for (President Joe) Biden and Gov. Phil Murphy to call for a stop to all activity,” she added. “Don’t add any more projects and get a comprehensive investigation underway with experts and full transparency with oversight.”
While no offshore wind turbines have been built in New Jersey, several projects are in the works as Murphy pushes for the Garden State to reach his offshore electric wind generation goal of 11,000 megawatts of usage by 2040.
Murphy on Wednesday during a radio appearance called the string of whale deaths “tragic” and said a probe was underway to find the cause. A spokesman from his office deferred comment Friday to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
NOAA officials said the federal agency was also involved in investigating the Brigantine incident.
“We should suspend all work related to offshore wind development until we can determine the cause of death of these whales, some of which are endangered,” state Senator Vince Polistina (R-Atlantic) said in a statement. “The work related to offshore wind projects is the primary difference in our waters, and it’s hard to believe that the death of (the) whales on our beaches is just a coincidence.”
Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-2nd Dist., also called for a offshore wind work stoppage.
On Thursday, prior to the seventh whale stranding, a NOAA spokeswoman said no offshore wind developers have been authorized to seriously harm or kill whales as part of survey work.
But climate groups, like Save LBI and the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, continue to implore officials to investigate the strandings further.
According to data from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, 12 whales washed up in New Jersey in 2019 and 2020. Five washed up in the state in 2021, followed by six last year. Since Dec. 5, there have been five reported across various New Jersey beaches and two in New York.
NOAA is currently studying an increase of reported humpback whale deaths since 2016 across the East Coast. Officials there said that so far no whale deaths have been attributed to offshore wind activities.
In addition, the number of whales necropsied appears to be low. Since January 2016, 174 dead stranded humpback whales were reported across 13 states, including New Jersey. Of those, about 87 were examined after their deaths and about 40% of those examined were found to have died due to a ship strike or entanglement, NOAA said. It is not known how the others died.
Two humpback whales washed up in Atlantic City on Dec. 23 and Jan. 7. Environmental groups and officials said a humpback whale also washed up in Amagansett, New York, on Dec. 6 followed by a female sperm whale in Rockaway Beach in Queens, New York, on Dec. 12.
A 12-foot infant sperm whale was found here in Keansburg on Dec. 5 and a juvenile humpback whale on Strathmere Beach five days later.
“Necropsies (internal examinations) were completed on the two sperm whale strandings, and two of the four recent humpback whale strandings in this area,” a NOAA spokeswoman said Thursday. “Since the cause of death is not always clear at first examination, biologists took samples from these whales, and will work with laboratory partners to review them in the coming months. Decomposition can limit our ability to determine a definitive cause of death.”
Wind Farms Eyed In Surge Of Dead Whales On NJ, NY Beaches
15 January 2023
In a case of odd bedfellows, environmental groups and Republican politicians are calling for a pause in offshore wind farm development following a string of whales washing up dead on New Jersey and New York beaches.
Seven whales have turned up dead in little over a month. The latest victim, a 20- to 25-foot juvenile Humpback whale, turned up in Brigantine, New Jersey on Thursday afternoon, close to a Coast Guard station.
“The wave of dead whales is the ocean sounding the alarm, and we must heed the warning,” said Cindy Zipf, executive director of Jersey-based Clean Ocean Action, after the sixth whale washed up in Atlantic City on Jan. 7 with signs of head trauma. “[The wind farm development] is too much, too fast. It’s outrageous and our ocean deserves better.”
On Friday, Congressman Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ) announced he would seek a federal investigation. “Ocean life is being put at risk as our governor and president force through their Green New Deal policies, without giving full consideration to their real-world impacts.
Drew sits on the House Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee. New Jersey Republican state Senator Vince Polistina called for a pause in offshore construction:
“The work related to offshore wind projects is the primary difference in our waters, and it’s hard to believe that the death of (seven) whales on our beaches is just a coincidence.”
New Jersey has been on a quest to distinguish itself as the top offshore-wind state on the east coast. The Garden State has already approved three offshore wind farms and is soliciting more requests.
The strange coincidence of the Offshore Wind Industry and 178 dead whales
Jo Nova Blog
25 January 2023
There have been a lot of dead whales on the East Coast of the US lately. David Wojik noticed that NOAA was investigating 178 dead whales in something called an Unusual Mortality Event, or a UME — it’s like an episode of X-Files.
NOAA says this wave of strandings mysteriously started in 2016 which was before the offshore wind factory industry got going — but Wojik points out the timing matches very well. Offshore lease sales for the wind industry ramped up 2015-16. There were nine big sales, he says, off New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Massachusetts. And not so coincidentally, apparently 2016 was also the year that NOAA started giving permission slips for whale hunts, sorry whale harassment licenses for “geotechnical and site characterization surveys“.
In bureaucrat-valium-lingo, the license to cause incidental dead whales is called an IHA — or an Incidental Harassment Authorization. This appears to have fooled Greenpeace.
Although since wind turbines are a sacred totem, NOAA could have called them a 007 License to Kill Humpbacks and they might not have cared either. The whales are dying for the planet you know. They’re probably happy about it too.
Evidence says offshore wind development is killing lots of whales
23 January 2023
The “unusual mortality” data is astounding. Basically the humpback death rate roughly tripled starting in 2016 and continued high thereafter.
To date NOAA has issued an astounding 46 one-year IHA’s for offshore wind sites. Site characterization typically includes the protracted use of what I call “machine gun sonar”. This shipboard device emits an incredibly loud noise several times a second, often for hours at a time, as the ship slowly maps the sea floor.
Wojik explains why wind “farms” might pose a threat to whales, and why it’s likely to get worse with bigger turbines and larger farms going in:
There are lots of ways this sonar blasting might cause whales to die. Simply fleeing the incredible noise could cause ship strikes or fish gear entanglements, the two leading causes of whale deaths. Or the whales could be deafened, increasing their chances of being struck by a ship later on. Direct bleeding injury, like getting their ears damaged, is another known risk, possibly leading to death from infection. So there can be a big time difference between blasting and death.
Note also that these deaths need not be in the immediate vicinity of the sonar blasting, so spatial correlation is unlikely. Humpbacks in particular are prodigious travelers. One group was tracked traveling 3,000 miles in just 28 days, over 100 miles a day on average.
Thus a sonar blasting, site characterization in one place could easily lead to multiple whale deaths hundreds of miles away. If one of these blasters suddenly goes off near a group of whales they might go off in different directions, then slowly die.
For more on this noise see my https://www.cfact.org/2022/07/26/threat-to-endangered-whales-gets-louder/
The whole original article is at CFACT.
Jo Nova Blog
via STOP THESE THINGS
February 11, 2023 at 12:31AM