WASHINGTON, D.C. March 16, 2023 – American Clean Power Association (ACP) CEO Jason Grumet issued the following statement in response to disinformation regarding whale deaths on the East Coast. Much of this disinformation has been pushed by long-time opponents to offshore wind and irresponsible news outlets who have blamed these deaths on the offshore wind industry without any evidence.
“Disinformation shouldn’t dictate policy. Opponents of offshore wind development are weaponizing a convenient narrative to block critical infrastructure that’s contributing to America’s energy independence, creating economic growth, and strengthening the grid. The evidence is clear: there’s no link between offshore wind and recent tragic whale strandings. Scientists from three federal agencies have unequivocally stated that offshore wind is not to blame. There is ample bipartisan common ground to build the energy infrastructure we need to work toward greater energy independence. ACP is hopeful that lawmakers will see this for what it is and focus on passing legislation, like permitting reform, that will allow the clean energy industry to deliver affordable power, jobs and security for all Americans.”
Fact: Federal scientists have been studying an increase in whale deaths since 2016, well before the construction of offshore wind projects began in the area.
Fact: The biggest threat to whales is marine vessel strikes – but only 2% of traffic in this region is currently associated with offshore wind development.
Fact: Stopping offshore wind development would do nothing to address whale strandings, which have been high since before offshore wind development began, and fails to consider the extensive measures the industry follows to protect marine mammals:
- No other marine sector goes to the same lengths as the offshore wind industry to mitigate and monitor for marine mammals during vessel transit, including operating all vessels under seasonal speed restrictions to protect whales and establishing “exclusion zones” around survey vessels.
- Vessels are monitored by trained independent protected species observers to ensure the area is clear of any marine mammals while surveys are being conducted.
- All marine mammal observations are reported to federal regulators, creating a large and valuable dataset that would not be available without offshore wind activity.
This level of attention to the environment extends to all phases of offshore wind development. Offshore wind projects go through years of rigorous environmental analysis by federal, state, and local regulators, and are approved subject to an extensive suite of mitigation measures.
Finally, it should be noted that the offshore wind survey vessels under attack are the same ones used to map out sand resources used for beach replenishment projects, port and harbor construction, nautical charting, and numerous other beneficial purposes.