Scientists working in the federal government warned officials from the Biden administration that a major Atlantic coast off-shore wind project would threaten sea life, but the Department of Interior approved the project anyways.
The revelation emerged from reporting by Bloomberg, which obtained previously non-public communications between federal employees.
“The warnings were delivered in unpublished correspondence weeks before Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management authorized the 12-turbine South Fork plan in November 2021,” Bloomberg wrote. “And they serve to underscore the potential ecological consequences and environmental tradeoff of a coming offshore wind boom along the US East Coast.”
In this case, the specific project was a 12-turbine plan for the New Jersey coast, and the threatened ocean life was the cod.
“Concerns about South Fork, the 132-megawatt project being developed by Orsted AS and Eversource Energy, focused on its overlap with Cox Ledge, a major spawning ground for cod and ‘sensitive ecological area that provides valuable habitat for a number of federally managed fish species,’ a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration assistant regional administrator said in an October 2021 letter to Interior Department officials. Based on in-house expertise and peer-reviewed science, the agency said ‘this project has a high risk of population-level impacts on Southern New England Atlantic cod.'”
This is not the first time cherished Atlantic sea critters have taken a back seat to Biden’s ambitious wind-power plans.
Bloomberg also reported in November that off-shore wind could prove devastating to the right whale.
That particular whale has loomed large in policy fights between Mainers and the federal government over the past two years.
In August, the Biden administration solicited proposals from corporations that might be interested in leasing parts of the Gulf of Maine to build wind turbines.
While federal officials with NOAA have sought severe regulations on Maine’s $1.5-billion-per-year lobstering industry — supposedly to protect the right whale — they’ve remained silent on Biden’s wind-turbine plans.