Republicans decide to blame whale strandings on wind farms

All evidence for the primary cause of an increase in humpback and right whale strandings on the beaches of New York and New Jersey seems to point to the damage caused by the whales' collisions with ships. But Republicans in New Jersey are using the tragic phenomenon to try to stop offhsore wind farm construction.

Article in The Verge here.

"When it comes to risks posed by offshore wind, [executive director of Gotham Whale, Paul] Sieswerda says, "I, as yet, have not seen the concerns backed up with evidence." The Marine Mammal Commission, an independent government agency, also said that "there is no evidence to link these strandings to offshore wind energy development."

"Even so, Republican lawmakers in New Jersey held a two-hour-long hearing last week calling for a moratorium on offshore wind construction because of the whale strandings. "One thing our side of the aisle gets accused of is not following the science," Republican state Senator Michael Testa said. "So what is the harm of waiting 30 or 60 days?""

The theory Republicans are using to try to pin wind farms for the strandings is that the noise created by the windmills could disrupt the echolocation that some whales use for navigation, causing them to become stranded onshore.

But Joy Reidenberg, a comparative anatomist at the Icahn School of Medicine whose research focuses on marine mammals, "doesn't expect that to be a problem for humpback or right whales for one simple reason. 'The whales that are washing in are not echolocators. So that's where a half-truth really unfairly biases the public against something,' she says."

The article's subhed gives the story away right at the top: "Whales are washing up along the east coast of the US. Offshore wind opponents blame future wind farms. Experts see a different threat."

"… blame future wind farms."