Right-wing conspiracy theorists are blaming wind energy for whales dying in New Jersey: report
Far-right conspiracy theorists, including former President Donald Trump, have been falsely claiming that wind turbines cause cancer — a claim that scientists and supporters of green energy have been debunking. Now, opponents of green energy on the far right are blaming wind power for the deaths of whales along the New Jersey Shore.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Amy S. Rosenberg, scientists deny that there is any connection between the whales' deaths in Jersey and wind turbines, but that has not stopped the conspiracy theory from spreading on social media — namely Facebook.
Rosenberg, in an article published on March 14, reports, "Are wind turbines to blame for recent New Jersey whale deaths? Scientists say no, Facebook says yes."
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One conspiracy theorist on Facebook, according to Rosenberg, posted, "This is really bad. How long before we start seeing dead children washing up on the beach?"
Rosenberg cites actual data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). And she points out that while NOAA attributes the deaths of whales to different factors, wind energy is not one of them.
"At least 178 humpback whales have died from Maine to Florida since 2016, with necropsies completed on half," Rosenberg explains. "About 40 percent bear evidence of being struck by a vessel or entangled in fishing gear, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s Marine Fisheries Service, which designated the time period as an unusual mortality event predating offshore wind-energy activity."
But according to Joris Veldhoven, CEO of Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, the fact that a conspiracy theory is false doesn't mean it can’t be a headache for a green energy company to deal with.
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Veldhoven told the Philadelphia Inquirer, "There’s not a shred of evidence connecting ocean wind farms or surveying activities to the harming of whales. We’re mapping the sea floor. We’re not installing turbines. We’re not installing cables. We're very concerned about how the opposition is trying to draw a causal relation with the wave of whale beachings and deaths."
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Read the Philadelphia Inquirer's full report at this link (subscription required).
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