January 24, 2019

Vineyard Wind Agrees to Protect Right Whales

Good news for the climate and for the endangered North Atlantic right whale.

The Environmental League of Massachusetts is proud to be part of a team providing input to the federal government on the environmental impact of the proposed Vineyard Wind offshore wind farm. In these comments, it was announced that Vineyard Wind has agreed to take a set of strong measures to ensure the construction and operation of this wind farm will be carried out in a manner that  in a way consistent with protection of the highly endangered North Atlantic right whale. We congratulate Vineyard Wind for these commitments, which set an important precedent for the other offshore wind projects that are also moving forward and for U.S. offshore wind development as a whole.

This 800 megawatt project (a little larger than the Pilgrim nuclear power station and capable of powering about 400,000 homes) will help pave the way for the transition away from fossil fuels and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly. Today’s announcement that the Vineyard Wind project will be built with minimal impact on the North Atlantic right whales is also critically important.

According to an article in the New York Times today, after a barren 2017, there have been 3 baby North Atlantic right whales spotted this birthing season, which is not yet over. Hopefully these calves will grow up in harmony with the Vineyard Wind farm.

ELM hopes that the protective measures for whales agreed to by Vineyard Wind will be a precedent for all of the planned offshore wind development along the Atlantic coast. Offshore wind holds the potential for great environmental and economic benefits, but it needs to be built in a responsible manner. ELM is confident that today’s announcement represents solid progress to a cleaner and more prosperous future.

Eric Wilkinson
General Council and Director for Energy Policy

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