Feds unveil plan to grow wind power while sparing rare whale

Oct 29, 2022, 7:06 AM | Updated: 7:18 am

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The federal government has outlined a strategy to try to protect an endangered species of whale while also developing offshore wind power off the East Coast.

President Joe Biden’s administration has made a priority of encouraging offshore wind along the Atlantic coast as the U.S. pursues greater energy independence. Those waters are also home to the declining North Atlantic right whale, which numbers about 340 in the world.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management released a draft plan this month to conserve the whales while allowing for the building of wind projects. The agencies said the ongoing efforts to save the whales and create more renewable energy can coexist.

“As we face the ongoing challenges of climate change, this strategy provides a strong foundation to help us advance renewable energy while also working to protect and recover North Atlantic right whales, and the ecosystem they depend on,” said Janet Coit, assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries

The development of offshore wind is going on along the migratory routes of the whales, which travel from Georgia and Florida to New England and Canada every year. That potentially leaves the whales vulnerable to disturbance or injury. The agencies said they plan to provide offshore wind developers with guidance about mitigation measures to help navigate the regulatory process as part of the whale strategy.

The strategy focuses on “improving the science and integrating past, present and future efforts related to North Atlantic right whales and offshore wind development,” said Jon Hare, the director of NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center and a lead author on the document. It also identifies mitigation measures related to project planning, leasing and siting, he said.

The right whales have been declining in recent years and face threats such as collisions with ships and entanglement in fishing gear. Environmentalist groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, have called for more protections for the whales.

The protection strategy is promising, but it needs funding for implementation and requirements for measures that minimize harm to the whales, said Alison Chase, a senior policy analyst with the council. Those include speed and noise reductions, Chase said.

“We need offshore wind, and we need to do it right,” Chase said. “But as we fight climate change, we must avoid, minimize, and mitigate threats to ocean life in whatever ways we can.”

The government will take public comment on the draft strategy until Dec. 4.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Arizona will not approve new housing construction on the fast-growing edges of metro Phoenix that r...

Associated Press

Arizona Senate passes plan to manage rural groundwater, but final success is uncertain

A plan to manage rural groundwater passed the Arizona Senate amid concerns about the availability of sufficient water for future generations.

1 day ago

A woman pauses while shopping at a Kohl's store in Clifton, N.J., Jan. 26, 2024. On Thursday, Feb. ...

Associated Press

Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge picked up last month in sign of still-elevated prices

An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve increased in January, the latest sign that the slowdown in U.S. consumer price increases is occurring unevenly from month to month.

2 days ago

This undated image provided by Mikel Desmond shows his brother Marcus Tessier, who turned up in Dem...

Associated Press

Missing teen with autism found in New Mexico, about 200 miles away from his Arizona home

A missing teen with autism has been found in New Mexico — about 200 miles away from his home in southern Arizona.

2 days ago

A newly released report on last year’s fatal crash involving a pickup truck and a group of bicycl...

Associated Press

Report suggests steering of vehicle that caused fatal Goodyear bicycle crash worked fine

A new report on last year’s fatal Goodyear bicycle crash has cast doubts about the driver’s claim the vehicle’s steering locked up.

3 days ago

Israeli Embassy...

Associated Press

US airman dies after setting himself ablaze outside Israeli Embassy in Israel-Hamas war protest

An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.

5 days ago

Biden and Trump to visit Mexico border Thursday immigration...

Associated Press

Biden and Trump both plan trips to the Mexico border Thursday, dueling for advantage on immigration

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will make dueling trips to the U.S-Mexico border on Thursday.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Feds unveil plan to grow wind power while sparing rare whale