No, Wind Turbines are Not Killing the Whales

January 10, 2023

Having given up on “wind turbines kill birds”, Climate deniers have moved on to “Wind turbines kill whales”, which is pretty ironic for people who really couldn’t give a damn about birds, or whales, for that matter, or the science that shows what the real threat to all species really is.

Check out this Nimitz Class cherry pick from tobacco, climate, and whatever-you-got denier Steve Milloy:

Miami Herald:

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — A young humpback whale that washed up on an Atlantic City beach on Saturday had evidence of a head injury, a large hematoma located just behind the blow hole, an official from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center said Monday.

“The only thing we suspect may have happened is that it was hit by a large boat,” said Sheila Dean, executive director of the Brigantine-based center. “There was a big hematoma.”

With environmental and citizens groups calling for a federal investigation into whether sonar mapping related to future wind turbine projects off the coast may have played a role in four recent humpback whale deaths in New Jersey, Dean said it was premature to conclude about a cause of death.

Others noted that the National Marine Fishery Service has designated an unusual mortality event for humpback whales based on an increase in mortality that began in 2016, before any wind energy activity.
Dean said samples from the whale were being tested “to see what else might be going on.” She said the whale was partially decomposed, which might affect how much could be determined.

Danielle Brown, lead researcher for Gotham Whale, a whale advocacy and educational group, said there has been an observed increase in whale deaths for at least six years.

”This is not something that just happened in 2022 or 2023,” said Brown, a Ph.D. candidate at Rutgers University’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources. Brown said the primary cause of whale deaths has come when they collide with ships or get entangled in fishing gear. Brown said that the number of whales in the area has increased over the past decade as they follow schools of menhaden for food. ”So it does make sense that an increase in whales in the area would lead to an increase in strandings.”

The groups, including citizen groups Project our Coast and Defend Brigantine Beach, cited six whale deaths, including two in New York, in what they described as an “unprecedented wave of whale deaths.”

Whales, most often endangered right whales, have been used as a rallying cry for conservative and fossil fuel industry aligned groups fighting offshore wind projects.

The groups that gathered on the beach in Atlantic City on Monday dismissed any connection to those interests, and said they only took donations from individuals. Protect Our Coast NJ raises donations for the Ocean Environment Legal Defense Fund through its Facebook group and a webpage. The fund is administered by the Caesar Rodney Institute, a Delaware-based group that originated as a conservative nonprofit, but now bills itself as nonpartisan.

Hornick said the institute has no role in the group’s activities beyond holding its funds.

The Heartland Institute, a national libertarian think tank, recently filed comments with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management against an offshore wind project in Virginia, “to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale.”
The Heartland Institute has been closely aligned with fossil fuel and conservative groups in the past, including Exxon Mobil the Mercer family and Koch Industries, though it no longer discloses its funding sources, according to DeSmog, which tracks climate denial efforts.


3 Responses to “No, Wind Turbines are Not Killing the Whales”

  1. Anthony O'Brien Says:

    If mapping sonar is a problem, then why isn’t naval sonar? Sonar pulses at 235 Db certainly are a problem. There is a reason submarines turn off sonar when divers are in the water.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      Yeah, mapping sonar has been an issue for ocean life (particularly mammals) for a long time. Funny how Milloy&company never worried about all the mapping the offshore drilling industry has done for decades.

  2. J4Zonian Says:

    Climate-denying delayalists have not given up on the dead bird thing; it appears in things I read almost every day. If there were such a thing as irony I’d say it was ironic that I’m also accused of being a hypocrite in endless tu quoque arguments, often as part of the bird argument (where, by the way, the decades-long eagle study I read here comes in handy).

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