DEP: No evidence of wind work harming whalesDEP: No credible evidence of wind work harming whales
- Mar 16, 2023 12:26 pm GMT
After a winter of national attention paid to the number of whales washing up dead on
In it, DEP officials reiterated federal assertions that work on wind power projects has not hurt any whales, or at least that there is no reason to believe it has.
The statement seems unlikely to convince critics of offshore wind plans. Officials in multiple communities along the coast have called for a moratorium on all offshore work related to wind power projects, and opposition to the projects appears to be growing.
On Wednesday evening,
Once a wind power proponent,
Critics say wind power will mar views and cost energy consumers more, and blame the survey work undertaken in advance of construction on the whale deaths.
Officials with the DEP say there has been an unusual mortality event affecting humpback whales on the
This year, the statement from DEP says, officials began hearing concerns that offshore wind development was responsible for the whale deaths.
Scientists with the
On Wednesday, the DEP reiterated that message.
"All offshore wind survey activities have been permitted by
Instead, the DEP sought to raise an alarm about rising ocean temperatures. The department says climate change caused by fossil fuel use will "continue to adversely impact marine mammals, including whales, their food sources, habitats, and migration patterns.
"Due to these changes in ocean temperature and water chemistry, populations of marine species - including menhaden, a key whale food source - adapt by moving into new areas where conditions are more favorable," the DEP statement reads. "Changes that draw prey fish landward similarly increase the risk that these fish and their predators, including whales, may be drawn into conflict with human activities, such as vessel strikes that may increase whale mortality."
The DEP said it expects all entities operating in coastal waters, including those working on offshore wind projects, "to pursue development objectives responsibly, including assessing potential environmental impacts and avoiding, minimizing, and mitigating likely adverse effects upon natural resources, including marine mammals and their habitats."
The statement also said the
"As part of the BPU's second wind energy solicitation,
The DEP statement comes the day before
"They must prove that the development of these projects will have no effect on the environment, which is hard to believe following the death of over a dozen whales in the Northeast region where surveying is currently taking place,"
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