President Biden Approves First Major U.S. Offshore Wind Project - Oceana USA

President Biden Approves First Major U.S. Offshore Wind Project

Oceana cautions that Vineyard Wind must include strong protections for species like the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale

Press Release Date: May 12, 2021

Location: Washington, DC

Contact:

Dustin Cranor, APR 954.348.1314

Yesterday, the Biden-Harris administration announced the approval of the first major offshore wind project in U.S. waters, which will help advance clean, renewable energy while also creating new American jobs. In response, Oceana released the following statement from Jacqueline Savitz, chief policy officer:  

“Offshore wind has the potential to be a game-changer in the U.S. energy portfolio, replacing the fossil fuels that are driving climate change. We applaud the Biden-Harris administration for helping to make offshore wind a reality in the United States — a necessary step in combating climate change. Today’s release of the Record of Decision for Vineyard Wind is an important step forward for the future of wind power in the United States. As we advance clean offshore energy, Oceana seeks to ensure that its development includes strong protections for ocean habitat and wildlife, especially for the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale, which uses the area encompassing the Vineyard Wind site as year-round core habitat. With only about 360 individuals remaining, including 80 breeding females, this presents a uniquely challenging decision that will not be as difficult in most of the other sites being considered for offshore wind. This offshore wind development should therefore not jeopardize the feeding, breeding, and socializing habitats of the remaining North Atlantic right whales. We look forward to fully evaluating the Record of Decision in order to better understand the complete suite of environmental mitigation and monitoring measures that would occur during the construction and operation of this historic project, and we appreciate the additional measures being required that address some of our concerns. However, it is not clear at this point whether the measures being required will be sufficient to protect North Atlantic right whales given the uniqueness of this particular site. Oceana will continue to engage to help thread the needle between taking this important step in reducing greenhouse gasses and preventing the extinction of the North Atlantic right whale. Our oceans can and should be an important part of the climate solution, helping to reduce our reliance on fossils fuels, but obviously not at the expense of such an iconic species. For the United States to successfully take full advantage of this unlimited resource that can help solve our climate and energy challenges, Oceana is also calling for permanent protection from dirty and dangerous offshore drilling.”