Can you imagine the outcry if an oil and gas company was given legal permission to injure hundreds of whales and thousands of other marine mammals such as dolphins in pursuit of offshore drilling? For maximum Greta-inspired wailing, the oil field could be located in the middle of territory where the last 300 North Atlantic right whales congregate, and a permit is in place to potentially harm 20 members. In May, Vineyard Wind will begin building a massive offshore wind farm numbering 62 giant turbines, 15 miles off the coast of Massachusetts. Permits to harass sea creatures have been secured – not a squeak of concern from green activists and mainstream media.
The Vineyard Wind project is only a small part of the planned industrialisation of America’s eastern coastal waters, as the Biden Administration ramps up a commitment to so-called green energy. Of course it is not green, and many now argue that it is becoming increasingly clear that the most valuable economic transfers gained from wind are the subsidies it attracts from electricity consumers.
The Vineyard Wind project will take about a year to complete and will include sonar surveying, massive pile-driving and considerable disturbance of the sea bed. All these activities are likely to harm or injure marine life. Dr. Patrick Moore helped found Greenpeace around 50 years ago and was heavily involved in the campaign to ban commercial whaling. Since 2016, he notes, when sonar surveying started for a planned 1,500 wind turbines on the U.S. Atlantic coast, 174 humpback whales have washed up dead on the shore, an increase of 400% from previous years. He quotes Greenpeace as stating: “At this time, due to lack of evidence suggesting harm from offshore wind development, Greenpeace’s position remains that the best way to protect whales is to create ocean sanctuaries, eliminate single use plastic and stop our dependency on oil and gas.”
If there is no evidence of harm to sea mammals from offshore wind, it is not immediately clear why Vineyard Wind found it necessary to secure a permit to injure thousands of animals during construction of its industrial complex. The permit was issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The table below details the species that can be injured up to “Level B harassment” and is titled, “Authorised Numbers of Take, by Species”.