Conservative groups sue to stop construction of massive wind farm off Virginia Beach

by WorldTribune Staff / 247 Real News March 20, 2024

Conservative groups this week filed a lawsuit to halt the construction off the coast of Virginia Beach of what would be the largest commercial offshore wind farm in the United States.

Dominion Energy plans to start construction in May on a wind farm about 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. It will consist of 176 turbines.

The Heartland Institute and Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) were among the groups who filed suit in federal court Monday against agencies including the National Marine Fisheries Service and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), reported.

The conservative groups say the government “illegally approved Dominion Energy’s offshore wind project by ignoring glaring and obvious procedural errors that subjects the endangered North Atlantic right whale to further grave harm.”

The groups make the case that federal officials need to assess the wind energy industry’s impacts as a whole, rather than each project in the permitting process.

“BOEM has committed a crucial procedural error in failing to analyze the combined impact of all of the approved and planned offshore wind projects on the North Atlantic right whale,” Collister Johnson, senior advisor with CFACT, said in a statement on Monday. “We believe the courts will put a stop to further offshore wind projects until this mistake has been corrected.”

Last year, Lisa Linowes, a coalition member of Save Right Whales, and several other organizations sent a letter to Joe Biden demanding a halt to all ocean-related wind projects until the federal government, with oversight from an independent scientist, investigates the high number of whale deaths.

In May, after four whales had washed up dead in four days, Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore said the drilling foundations for offshore wind turbines and sound pulses used to prepare for the 900-foot towers may be creating a “death zone” for whales.

Prior to construction on the offshore wind farms, companies use geotechnical survey boats with solar equipment to map the ocean floor. Critics say the loud sounds blasted from the boats could be damaging the whales’ hearing and interfering with their communications.

Dominion Energy claims its has taken several measures to protect whales, including monitoring for marine mammals when installing piles and halting piling activities during right whales’ migration season.

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