AP

Feds unveil plan to grow wind power while sparing rare whale

Oct 28, 2022, 7:06 PM | Updated: Oct 29, 2022, 7:30 am

FILE - A North Atlantic right whale feeds on the surface of Cape Cod Bay off the coast of Plymouth,...

FILE - A North Atlantic right whale feeds on the surface of Cape Cod Bay off the coast of Plymouth, Mass., in this March 28, 2018, file photo. President Joe Biden's administration has made a priority of encouraging offshore wind along the Atlantic coast in waters that are home to the declining North Atlantic right whale. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

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.

AP

Image: Members of the Makah Indian tribe paddle away from the rising sun as they head from Neah Bay...

Associated Press

Washington’s Makah Tribe clears major hurdle toward resuming traditional whale hunts

The U.S. granted the Makah Indian Tribe a long-sought waiver that helps clear the way for its first sanctioned whale hunts since 1999.

14 hours ago

jerry west...

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Jerry West, a 3-time Hall of Fame selection and the NBA logo, dies at 86

Jerry West, a three-time Basketball Hall of Fame inductee whose silhouette is considered to be the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday morning.

2 days ago

Photo: Construction vehicles are parked outside of the Station U & O building on Tuesday, June 11, ...

Haleluya Hadero, The Associated Press

Amazon adds $1.4B to affordable housing fund for regions where it has corporate offices

Amazon is adding $1.4B to a fund for building more affordable housing in regions where the company has major corporate offices.

2 days ago

hunter biden...

Randall Chase and the Associated Press

Hunter Biden convicted of all 3 felony charges in federal gun trial

Hunter Biden has been convicted of all three felony charges related to the purchase of a revolver in 2018, but no sentencing date was set.

3 days ago

Photo: A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real e...

Associated Press

Bremerton man sentenced for 20 ‘swatting’ calls of false threats in US, Canada

A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real emergency responses, has been sentenced.

3 days ago

Image: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, left, speaks with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zele...

Associated Press

Ukraine uses US weapons to strike inside Russia, a Western official tells AP

Ukraine has used U.S weapons to strike inside Russia in recent days, according to a Western official familiar with the matter told the AP.

9 days ago

Feds unveil plan to grow wind power while sparing rare whale