Pause sought in wind farm ocean prep off East Coast after 7th dead whale

OPB.org

Lawmakers at local, state and federal levels called Friday for a temporary pause in ocean floor preparation work for offshore wind farms in New Jersey and New York after another dead whale washed ashore in the area. The calls came as most of New Jersey’s environmental groups warned against linking offshore wind work and whale deaths, calling such associations “unfounded and premature.” The death was the seventh in a little over a month. The spate of fatalities prompted an environmental group and some citizens groups opposed to offshore wind to ask President Biden earlier this week for a federal investigation into the deaths. The latest death Thursday was that of a 20- to 25-foot-long (6- to 7.6-meter-long) humpback whale. Its remains washed ashore in Brigantine, just north of Atlantic City, which itself has seen two dead whales on its beaches in recent weeks. There was no immediate indication of what caused the latest death. The Marine Mammal Stranding Center, based in Brigantine, said it and several other groups were formulating plans Friday for a post-mortem examination of the whale’s remains before the animal’s carcass is disposed of, most likely through burial on the beach. “We should suspend all work related to offshore wind development until we can determine the cause of death of these whales, some of which are endangered,” said New Jersey state Sen. Vince Polistina, a Republican who represents the area. “The work related to offshore wind projects is the primary difference in our waters, and it’s hard to believe that the death of (seven) whales on our beaches is just a coincidence.”

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