Biden Admin To Green Light Another Massive Offshore Wind Farm Amid Industry Troubles, Mounting Whale Deaths

The Biden administration is expected to officially approve a massive new offshore wind farm development off of the Rhode Island coast on Tuesday, despite reported economic troubles for other developers and mounting suspicion that East Coast offshore wind developments may be responsible for a surge in whale deaths, The Washington Post reported.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is set to approve the project, which will feature 65 turbines and be 15 nautical miles off the coast of Point Judith, Rhode Island, to become the fourth commercial wind development approved by the Biden administration off of the East Coast, according to the Post. Although government agencies have not identified any causal link between offshore wind construction and harm to whales, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has declared “unusual mortality events” for humpback whales and North Atlantic right whales since 2016 and 2017, respectively, a timeline which generally coincides with the beginning of offshore wind development off of the East Coast, according to NOAA’s website.

At least 200 whales have washed up dead on East Coast shores since 2016, with at least 29 humpback strandings on the East Coast so far in 2023, alone, according to Forbes. The planned project reportedly reduced its size and scope to satisfy concerns from residents of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, that a larger proposal may have obstructed views, the Post reported.

Marine Conservation Orgs Took Funds From Offshore Wind Backers, Including One Potentially Linked To Whale Deaths: REPORT— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 16, 2023

The Biden administration’s offshore wind push is a key pillar of its ambitions to have the American energy sector achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2035 and to have the overall U.S. economy reach net-zero by 2050. The administration seeks to have offshore wind generate 30 gigawatts by 2030, which would be enough to power 10 million homes each year, according to the White House.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is conducting an inquiry into offshore wind’s potential ecological, logistical, navigational and military impacts.

Beyond ecological concerns, reports have surfaced that developers and firms involved in other East Coast offshore wind farms have encountered financial difficulties, with inflation, rising interest rates and supply chain disruptions driving up costs and making the projects less economically appealing, according to Bloomberg. One such firm canceled a contract that would have enabled it to sell energy produced by an offshore wind farm located off the Massachusetts coast.

“The project’s approval underscores the administration’s commitment to promoting domestic energy production and fighting climate change, while promoting economic growth and fostering environmental stewardship within coastal communities,” BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein said, according to the Post.

Neither BOEM nor the White House responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.

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