The Jan. 26 Politics & the Nation article “Dead whales raise more uncertainty for wind power push” perpetuated misinformation by dark-money groups that offshore wind activity is linked with recent whale strandings in New Jersey.
The U.S. government’s top marine scientists at NOAA have been tracking whale strandings for years and first identified an “unusual mortality event” involving humpback whales in 2016, long before offshore wind activity began in the area.
Offshore wind is a domestic clean-energy source that helps combat one of the biggest threats to marine life: the warming of our oceans because of climate change. The offshore wind industry does more to carefully track and monitor the marine environment for the presence of whales than any other industry. We will continue to work collaboratively with marine scientists and other experts on this critical issue.
The offshore wind industry is strongly committed to safeguarding the marine environment we operate in.
J.C. Sandberg, Washington
The writer is chief advocacy officer of the American Clean Power Association.
Stating that recent whale strandings were “not far from where developers of hundreds of offshore wind turbines are engaged in a flurry of preconstruction activity” implied that these two unrelated phenomena are directly connected.
Despite construction of thousands of offshore wind turbines worldwide, there is no evidence that turbines or their construction have contributed to the death of any whales. In fact, entanglement with fishing gear, primarily lobster and crab trap lines, causes 82 percent of total whale mortalities. For North Atlantic right whales, vessel strikes are a leading cause of death, but 85 percent of them have been entangled at least once, and 26 percent of them are entangled every year.
Anti-renewable energy groups and others would like to blame these deaths on wind turbines. This argument is specious at best, however, and an outright fabrication at worst. Ships kill whales, and trap lines kill whales, but there is no evidence that wind turbines kill whales.
Bradley Stevens, Salisbury