Washington – Original article by Susan Ferrechio of the Washington Times. Democrats worried about whale deaths on the East Coast joined Republicans on Thursday in forcing a probe of White House-backed efforts to fasttrack offshore wind turbines.
The House passed legislation Thursday that would require the Government Accountability Office to conduct “a comprehensive and independent” probe of the Biden administration’s fast-tracking of 3,400 offshore wind turbines.
The measure, included as an amendment to a major GOP energy bill, passed with the help of 29 Democrats and follows a sudden increase in whale deaths reported along the New York and New Jersey shoreline this year.
Nearly two dozen dead whales have washed ashore since December, many on the beaches of New York and New Jersey, where a dozen companies are working on wind farm projects.
The work involves geotechnical survey boats mapping the ocean floor using sonar equipment that blasts underwater air guns.
Some environmental groups fear the loud sounds could be interfering with whale communications and hearing, disturbing migration and feeding patterns. This could be causing the massive mammals to become injured or stranded on shore.
“The offshore wind industrialization approval process has left unaddressed and unanswered numerous serious questions concerning the potentially harmful environmental impact on marine life and the ecosystems that currently allow all sea creatures great and small to thrive,” said Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican and sponsor of the amendment.
The measure passed Thursday would require the GAO to examine the environmental review process used by federal agencies to greenlight the offshore turbines. The GAO would also be tasked with studying the impact of the offshore projects on marine life, including whales and other sea mammals, how the projects affect the sustainability of shoreline beaches and whether the turbines impede the military’s use and navigation of marine vessels.
Mr. Smith’s measure would also require the GAO to determine the safety of the turbines in hurricanes and other severe weather.
The amendment was included in a sweeping energy bill that passed 225-204. The measure would speed up the environmental review process for energy projects to quicken their approval, among other provisions aimed at boosting fossil fuel production and reducing energy prices.
Only four Democrats voted for the final bill and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, a New York Democrat, called the measure “dead on arrival.”
Mr. Smith’s amendment, however, signaled significant Democratic backing for a closer examination of offshore wind turbine development that is now underway.
In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, has rejected calls by some environmental groups and local and federal lawmakers to halt the Garden State’s aggressive push for offshore wind development following the whale deaths.
Mr. Biden’s renewable energy plan calls for deploying 30,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2030. The president’s ambitious offshore wind plan would provide a year’s worth of power for more than 10 million homes and “avoid 78 million metric tons of CO2 emissions,” Biden officials said.
There are no operational offshore wind projects yet along the East Coast but construction is planned for offshore wind farms between Maine and North Carolina to provide 18,000 megawatts of power.
A large portion of wind energy projects are slated for an area of shallow water between Long Island and the New Jersey coast, where the whales have recently been washing ashore.
Officials with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration said there has been an increase in whale strandings on the New York and New Jersey coastline along with an increase in humpback whale deaths since 2016.
While NOAA officials said they cannot explain the increase in whale deaths, they said there are “no known connections” to the wind turbine projects.
Mr. Smith called the Biden administration’s review process for the offshore wind projects “shoddy.” He said a far more thorough study is needed to determine the impact of the massive turbines, which could be as tall as 850 feet.
“With so much at stake, and out of an abundance of caution and concern, a serious, aggressive, and independent analysis on the ocean-altering impact of these projects is absolutely critical,” Mr. Smith said.
emily dickenson says
How much credence do we give the NOAA statement?? In my opinion, we should take it with a HUGE grain of salt. #conflictofinterest
Paul Plante, NYSPE says
What frequency do wind turbines produce?
Wind turbines generate low-frequency noise (LFN, 20–200 Hz), which poses health risks to nearby residents.
What frequencies do whales communicate on?
The repertoire of baleen whale sounds includes very low-frequency (20–200 Hz).
Dolphins and other toothed whales use echoes from the high-frequency sound pulses they produce in order to navigate and to locate prey.
They use lower-frequency sounds for communication among individuals.
Baleen whales are known to produce low-frequency sounds that can propagate over long distances.
What are the dangers of infrasound (sound waves with frequencies below the lower limit of human audibility)?
Reported effects include those on the inner ear, vertigo, imbalance, etc.; intolerable sensations, incapacitation, disorientation, nausea, vomiting, and bowel spasm; and resonances in inner organs, such as the heart.
Infrasound has been observed to affect the pattern of sleep minutely.
So will it affect whales?
(And what a crock that is!)
Paul Plante says
MATEC Web of Conferences 302, 0100 (2019)
18th International Conference Diagnostics of Machines and Vehicles
Ground vibrations caused by wind power plant work as environmental pollution – case study
UTP University of Science and Technology, Al. prof. S. Kaliskiego 7, 85-796
The paper presents issues related to the impact of wind farms on the environment.
Emphasis was placed on vibrations that are transferred to the ground through the foundations.
As research has shown – a case study – vibrations are felt up to about 1000 m from wind farms.
According to other literature sources, this may affect living organisms in the ground.
Do wind turbines vibrate the ground?
Mechanical vibrations generated in the wind power plant are transferred through the foundation to the surrounding ground.
Vibration can be generated as a result of normal operation and may increase as a result of damage.
A person exposed to this factor is exposed to damage to tissues and blood vessels.
Paul Plante, NYSPE says
Anyone who has ever been swimming underwater in a lake with motorboats operating on it at the same time knows well the annoying whine you are either hearing, if you can hear underwater, or experiencing, if otherwise, and having heard that whine many times, I can well imagine that it could drive some poor whale right out of its mind.
These windmill vibrations which transmit to the base of a windmill tower and the seafloor out at sea are also going to be transmitted to the water, itself, which does not require any kind of specialized education or fancy degree to understand and realize.
Will they affect whales?
OF COURSE, and only a fool or Biden administration flunky would think otherwise, and note that this following is coming from Thanjavur, India, not America:
International Journal of Engineering Research and Technology
2018 (Vol. 6 – Issue 14)
Mitigation of Underwater Vibration Due to Offshore Wind Turbines
DOI : 10.17577/IJERTCONV6IS14091
Authors : S. Sowmiya
Paper ID : IJERTCONV6IS14091
Volume & Issue : Confcall – 2018 (Volume 06 – Issue 14)
Published (First Online): 05-01-2019
ISSN (Online) : 2278-0181
Publisher Name : IJERT
Department of electrical and electronics engineering Parisutham Institute of Technology and science Thanjavur
In this modern world, the demand of electricity is drastically increased.
Therefore, we are in the need of abundant electricity.
At the same time, we need concern about the environmental impacts due to conventional energy resources.
Thus the technique of power generation from renewable energy resources evolved.
Power is generated from wind energy because no co2 emission is involved in this process.
In order to increase the efficiency of wind power generation, it is moved towards the seashore.
Thus the offshore wind turbines are evolved.
But major impact of offshore wind farm is underwater noises and vibration.
Because of this vibrations, marine ecosystem is disturbed.
Especially marine mammals are affected.
These animals are driven away from feeding or breeding grounds, loss of communication among the animals, deflect from migration route.
Paul Plante, NYSPE says
And speaking of WHALE DEATH DENIALISM by the “INSANE GREEN DREAM AT ANY COST” Biden regime:
“Biden’s green energy plans pose national security risk, Pentagon warns”
Story by Thomas Catenacci
17 April 2023
Meanwhile, offshore wind developed has also faced increasing scrutiny in light of a recent spate of whales beaching along the East Coast.
Since the beginning of the year, more than 20 humpback whales and endangered North Atlantic right whales have been discovered dead along the East Coast with most beaching in New Jersey, New York and Virginia, according to federal data.
The uptick in deaths has led to calls from lawmakers, local officials and conservation organizations for a federal moratorium on wind development in the Atlantic Ocean.
While administration officials and some environmental groups have said there is no evidence suggesting wind turbine construction is killing whales and that the deaths are part of an “unusual mortality event” for both whale species dating back years, the region is on pace to far surpass death figures set since the mortality events were declared.