Democratic senators from four states sent a letter to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Tuesday, calling on them to investigate recent whale strandings but left out a key aspect of the deaths, according to The Associated Press.
Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Bob Menendez and Cory Booker of New Jersey sent a letter to NOAA asking for an investigation and details on how the agency will address a recent surge in whale deaths and prevent them in the future, according to the AP. The senators made no mention of the possible connection to offshore wind projects.
Since December 2022, over 30 whales have washed up along the east coast near future offshore wind survey sites in an unusual mortality rate, according to NOAA.
The Biden administration has promoted offshore winds as part of its green energy goals, even as environmentalists sounded the alarm on the potential dangers the projects pose to whales. Just weeks ago, Biden proposed to more than double funding to expand NOAA’s offshore wind permitting activities. (RELATED: Exclusive: Federal Regulator Acknowledges Danger To Wildlife Caused By Offshore Wind Farms)
The senators specifically asked for details on how they will address and prevent whale strandings and to outline their procedures for alerting the public of whale strandings and when the necropsy reports become available, according to the AP. In addition to asking the agency about any challenges, they face in determining the cause of whale deaths and how Congress or the Biden administration can help.
Democrat senators from 4 states send letter to NOAA concerning dead whales 🐋
However, there is no mention of offshore wind farms, and that’s intentional. https://t.co/haH77Eqmp4
— Ryan Maue (@RyanMaue) March 29, 2023
“We will work directly with our partners in Congress to respond to any inquiries they may have,” NOAA spokeswoman Lauren Gaches told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The senators expressed particular concern with the deaths of the endangered North Atlantic right whale, which, with less than 350 remaining, is one of the most endangered whale species in the world, according to NOAA Fisheries.
“Without action, the (North Atlantic right whale) will likely go extinct,” they wrote in the letter, according to the AP. “If we do not act, other whale species may face the same fate.”
Offshore wind projects were not mentioned once in the letter.
A January report by the nonpartisan ocean and marine life advocacy group Save LBI shows that the noise from future wind sites disorients the whales’ hearing, which could lead to collisions with ships.
Just weeks ago, Republican New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew held a field hearing along with Republican New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith, Republican Maryland Rep. Andy Harris and Republican Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry to discuss offshore wind industrialization and vowed to continue pressing the issue.
Senators Sheldon Whitehouse, Richard Blumenthal, Jeff Merkley, Cory Booker and Bob Menendez did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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