Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Wind Power Industry Admits it Might Just Accidentally Kill Whales

We've been hearing about an abnormal number of dead whales washing up on Atlantic beaches, during a time which just happens to coincide with a big push for offshore wind power, and the beginning of large scale sonar surveys of potential sites. Wind power skeptics have pointed to the coincidence as evidence that the sonar surveys are harming whales, and causing them to be struck by ships, tangle in fishing gear and other causes of death (I'm agnostic). Wind power advocates (and their allies in government) have strongly denied the causation, but apparently they are not  too convince of their own arguments, as the wind power developer have applied to the US Fish and Wildlife Service for permits for "incidental" killing of whales and dolphins. Eric Worrall at WUWT, SAVE THE WHALES – Except When they Get in the Way of Green Energy

Greens don’t seem nearly as concerned about whales when they are supporting offshore wind power.

Something bad is happening, but nobody seems to care much. h/t David Wojick;

… NOAA said it has been studying what it calls “unusual mortality events” involving 174 humpback whales along the East Coast since January 2016. Agency spokesperson Lauren Gaches said that period pre-dates offshore wind preparation activities in the region.” [Gaches is NOAA Fisheries press chief.] …Read more: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-life-distress/2016-2023-humpback-whale-unusual-mortality-event-along-atlantic-coast
The US government was recently asked to consider simple measures to reduce the risk offshore surveys pose to whales, such as stopping surveys during whale season. But such simple measures to avoid harm were rejected in favour of a vague plan to monitor the situation.

Alternative to minimize impacts on NARW [NARW = North Atlantic right whale]

A commenter requested that BOEM include a range of alternatives to prohibit HRG surveys during seasons when protected species are known to be present in the Project area, in addition to any dynamic restrictions due to the presence of NARW or other endangered species. The commenter requested that BOEM include EIS alternatives that require clearance zones for NARW that extend at least 1,000 meters with requirements for HRG survey vessels to use Protected Species Observers and Passive Acoustic Monitoring to establish and monitor these zones with requirements to cease surveys if a NARW enters the clearance zone.BOEM reviewed this request for an alternative and determined that it would be more suitable to address potential impacts of HRG surveys through mitigation and monitoring (rather than as an EIS alternative). Refer to Appendix H, Mitigation and Monitoring, for BOEM’s recommended measures to avoid or minimize impacts on marine mammals during construction and operation of the Projects.
…Read more: https://www.boem.gov/sites/default/files/documents/renewable-energy/state-activities/Empire_Wind_DEIS_Vol1.pdf

The offshore wind industry is concerned enough about potential blowback that a bunch of offshore power companies have applied for incidental take permits, a free pass for accidentally killing whales.

Of course, murdering protected species isn’t the only issue greens have rolled over on. Remember back when greens chained themselves to trees to prevent the construction of hydroelectric dams? Nowadays greens cheer the development of hydro systems, as zero carbon backup for intermittent renewables.

One day, when there are a lot fewer whales and endangered eagles and untouched green spaces, people might look back on and wonder about the great green betrayal. But I doubt we’ll ever get an apology from the current generation of greens.

At Science, once a reputable journal,  Why whales flee from sonar—sometimes to their death. "Study suggests the sound is loud enough to trigger same terror as caused by their most fearsome predators"

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