Today, the U.S. District Court D.C issued a finding in favor of right whales! Based on their decision, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the US agency charged with protecting right whales, must acknowledge and thoroughly evaluate the impacts to right whales from the proposed development of an offshore wind farm in right whale habitat.
Last June, WDC submitted an amicus brief in support of a legal challenge put forward by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, et al. in response to the proposed development. While we are not opposed to alternative energy, we are concerned, as we point out in our recent report, that its development and operation must not harm whales and dolphins.
The sizable project in question would involve the operation of 130 Wind Turbines on a 46 square mile section of ocean off Cape Cod. The construction, operation, and maintenance of the project would also result in increased vessel traffic transiting to and from the project site, in areas where endangered North Atlantic right whales are known to occur.
The National Marine Fisheries Service had initially dismissed the increased sightings of right whales in this area as “visitors” to the habitat and did not demand any specific mitigation actions of the developers to reduce ship strikes. With fewer than 500 North Atlantic right whales remaining, the risk to even one whale, is too significant to ignore.
WDC is thrilled with the decision of the court, ensuring that the US Endangered Species Act must be adhered to, and honored to be part of this landmark win!!
As always, thank you for your support which enables us to work on behalf of whales and dolphins around the world.