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Oregon Groups Request Additional Look Before Selecting Wind Development Areas

humpback_whales_lunge_feeding_colleen_weiler_-_wdc
credit: Kindel Media

OREGON - WDC joined nine other national and Oregon-based conservation groups to submit a formal request to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), urging them to take a more comprehensive look at the marine life off our coast and the potential impact from offshore wind development.  Multiple fishing groups also joined the letter, supporting the call for a thorough and transparent review by the federal agency.

While offshore wind projects are moving forward on all coasts, Oregon is in a specific planning stage that gives BOEM an opportunity to conduct a full environmental impact study and protect sensitive habitat, species, and important fishing grounds off of Oregon.  This type of analysis supports placement of wind energy areas where they can help Oregonians most and ensures protection for vulnerable marine life.

“Offshore wind is critical to reducing the impacts of climate change, which are already affecting species and fisheries off the Oregon Coast,” said WDC’s Colleen Weiler, Jessica Rekos Fellow. “To help get offshore wind up and running expeditiously, we should start strong by thinking carefully about where to build in order to minimize impacts to ocean wildlife and uses.”

Southern resident orca

“To help get offshore wind up and running expeditiously, we should start strong by thinking carefully about where to build in order to minimize impacts to ocean wildlife and uses.” - WDC's Colleen Weiler

A comprehensive analysis at the beginning of site selection in Oregon helps to illuminate potential conflicts up front and avoids negative impacts to marine life and fisheries.  Protecting those important resources builds public confidence in offshore wind and will help advance projects in supported areas.

Oregon’s coast and offshore waters have exceptional biodiversity, supporting a wide array of marine species like humpback and gray whales, orcas, sea turtles, albatrosses and marbled murrelets, white sharks, salmon, and Dungeness crab.  Approximately half of the West Coast seabird breeding population nests in the state of Oregon, and offshore areas provide essential feeding areas for endangered whales including humpbacks and the Southern Resident orca community.

Contact: Colleen Weiler, [email protected]

To read the full letter, head here. If you want to help make sure marine life can have a safe home, please consider a donation. 

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