The Biden administration is facing major blowback from lawmakers, conservation groups and environmentalists for the construction of offshore wind turbines that threaten whale populations. 

Activist groups like the Protect Our Coast NJ, Save Right Whales, and others have voiced concerns that coastal wind turbines built amid a Biden administration push for green energy are hurting an already endangered species. 

"Marine mammals (whales, porpoise, seals) are sensitive to underwater sound and are extremely vulnerable to harm during offshore wind construction. Damage to their hearing kills their ability to navigate and communicate permanently," according to Protect Our Coast NJ website. 


A North Atlantic right whale

The North Atlantic right whale is an endangered species with less than 400 known individuals left in existence. This one is portrayed off the coast of Mass., on March 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

The Washington Post reported how if President Biden hopes to archive his renewable energy goals, the undertaking would require "massive" amount of offshore wind turbines to be installed. 

"Dead whales and tough economics bedevil Biden’s massive wind energy push," the Post wrote.  "Achieving the Biden administration’s target would require the installation of thousands of the machines, which will tower as high as three Statues of Liberty stacked on top of one another when their blades reach for the sky… The blades alone can be the length of a football field."

The Post also noted, while there is a debate over whether the turbines impact whales, many are condemning such efforts.

"We have an unprecedented amount of whales dying here at the same time there is this industrial activity taking place on a scale that has never before happened in these waters," Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action, told the Post. "Why is this not being investigated? Why are these companies getting a pass?" 


Wind turbines in California

Wind turbines have proven to be a controversial power source both for their visual appearance on landscapes as well as their reported environmental impacts. (REUTERS/David Swanson)

As whales continue to wash up dead on shores, lawmakers and activists voiced their concerns on Twitter.

"Where are the environmentalists? Where is the outrage? Almost a dozen dead whales have washed ashore in the NJ region in less than two months and there have been no investigations," Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., wrote. "Again, all offshore wind activity must end until hearings are held."

The GOP House Judiciary Committee tweeted, "Republicans support whales and gas stoves. Democrats support whale killing wind farms and government controlled kitchens."

"It’s time for Democrats to put whales over woke!" Rep. Barry Moore, R-Ala., tweeted.

Documentary filmmaker Leighton Woodhouse tweeted, "The proposed wind farm, which the Biden admin has permitted, is sited off the coast of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, right on top of the right whale's only winter foraging ground. Hazards include ship strikes, disorienting noise pollution and the scattering of zooplankton."

An environmentalist group, Defenders of Wildlife tweeted, "'#RightWhales have journeyed to the Southeast since time immemorial to birth & nurse their calves in the safety of warm, shallow waters. But the calving grounds have become killing grounds,' said Jane Davenport, our senior attorney."

Environmentalist and author Michael Shellenberger wrote a Twitter thread about how construction can hurt the local whale population in a variety of ways.

"The industry will bring in ships that could strike and kill whales. Noise pollution from the wind farm’s construction & operation, entanglements in equipment, also add to the risk. So too could air turbulence generated by the turbines harm or destroy zooplakton feeding grounds."

He also quoted another expert from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

"Industrial wind projects ‘could have population-level effects on an already endangered and stressed species,’ concluded the NOAA scientist, Sean Hayes," Shellenberger tweeted. "What are ‘population-level effects?’ In a word: extinction."

The dead whale on the beach

Dead whale at Assateague Island National Seashore. Whale deaths have been attributed to collisions with boats as well as their sonar being interrupted, causing them to accidentally beach themselves and suffocate on land. (NPS photo/K. Means)


Republican communicator Matt Whitlock tweeted that Biden’s environmental initiatives are contradictory.

"Pretty incredible that Biden tried to shut down the entire Maine lobster industry over danger to whales without a single documented whale death from Maine lobstermen," he wrote. "Meanwhile they're actively ignoring a dozen whales killed by wind turbines? Might be something there."

One environmental group backs the Biden administration push to move forward with the wind turbine construction. 

"The biggest threat to the ocean ecosystem is climate change," Shay O’Reilly, a senior organizing representative for the Sierra Club in New York City, told the Post.