Top Biden scientist warned dangers of offshore wind for marine life months before whales started dying

A senior Biden administration scientist wrote an internal memo warning about offshore wind development and its potential impact on marine life months before whales started dying and washing up on East Coast beaches.

(Video Credit: CBS New York)

Sean Hayes is the chief of protected species for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He authored the memo back in May 2022 and sent it to Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) lead biologist Brian Hooker. He also sent a copy of the memo to more than a dozen other scientists from the two agencies.

The message expressed Hayes’ worries concerning how offshore wind construction and surveying could disrupt the endangered Atlantic right whale.

“The development of offshore wind poses risks to these species, which is magnified in southern New England waters due to species abundance and distribution,” Hayes contended in his letter that was dated May 13. “These risks occur at varying stages, including construction and development, and include increased noise, vessel traffic, habitat modifications, water withdrawals associated with certain substations.”

“The focus of this memo is on operational effects, and as such, focuses on potential oceanographic impacts driving right whale prey distribution, but also acknowledges increased risks due to increased vessel traffic and noise,” he added. “However, unlike vessel traffic and noise, which can be mitigated to some extent, oceanographic impacts from installed and operating turbines cannot be mitigated for the 30-year lifespan of the project, unless they are decommissioned.”

He also pointed out that offshore wind development could have a devastating effect on the distribution, abundance, and availability of typical right whale food by causing oceanographic changes. Hayes cited the fact that infrastructure could potentially increase the entanglement risk to whales due to fishing techniques that might also be impacted by wind farms.

Whale deaths have dramatically and shockingly increased since December on the beaches of New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. There have been 18 of them so far according to Some reports quote a much higher death count. The memo shows the Biden administration was concerned about the possibility of wind farms causing whale deaths months before it happened.

Mayors, lawmakers, and conservation groups are horrified and alarmed at the deaths of the whales and are calling for the federal government and state governments to implement a moratorium on offshore wind development pending a full investigation into it. That includes thirty New Jersey coastal mayors calling for a moratorium on offshore wind activity.

There are two existing operational wind farms off the East Coast, but over 10 others are in various stages of development currently. The Biden administration announced in 2021 that it intended to approve a whopping 30 gigawatts of offshore wind to be developed by 2030 as part of its climate change agenda.

“We’ve got a very tight window to save these whales,” David Stevenson, who is the president of the American Coalition for Ocean Protection (ACOP), told Fox News Digital during an interview. “BOEM is trying to ignore the operational noise that could drive them into these vessel areas. So it’s a big, big, big disaster. This letter just verifies that it’s a huge problem.”

Stevenson, who represents shoreline communities in regard to offshore wind development, asserted that large federal offshore wind leases indirectly cause whales to swim into shipping channels that are full of vessels. A large number of whale deaths each year are the result of vessel strikes.

“If you look at the lease areas, they’ve all got this triangular shape,” he pointed out. “The reason for that is they are sandwiched between major shipping channels. So, if you harass the whales out of the lease area — and BOEM says in every one of their draft environmental impact statements that this is going to be a major impact on the whales — they are going to be harassed if they leave that lease area.”

“They’re going right into the shipping channels. Most whales die from vessel strikes, so you can’t move them out of a relatively safe area into the worst place they can possibly be,” Stevenson charged.

Biden administration officials appear to be turning a deaf ear to environmental groups over the issue. They keep claiming that there isn’t sufficient evidence linking offshore wind to whale deaths and insist there has been an unusual mortality event for the species stretching back years.

On Jan. 18, BOEM and NOAA officials held a press briefing that doubled down on there not being enough evidence of offshore wind development that is harmful. Last week the federal Marine Mammal Commission stated in a report that “despite several reports in the media, there is no evidence to link these strandings to offshore wind energy development.”

“The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management discussed with NOAA Fisheries that additional information was required to evaluate ‘conservation buffer zones’ in some wind energy areas for the purposes of North Atlantic right whale protection,” NOAA spokesperson Lauren Gaches informed Fox News Digital in an email.

“This advice was compiled by NOAA Fisheries experts and delivered in a letter dated May 13, 2022. Since then, NOAA Fisheries and BOEM have released a joint draft strategy to protect and promote the recovery of North Atlantic right whales while responsibly developing offshore wind energy,” she continued. “The points raised in the letter are described in the joint strategy.”

Meanwhile, the silence from the so-called environmental activists is deafening.

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