If whales have nightmares, they are just beginning for the right whales.

A few months ago, Vineyard Wind began operations of five wind turbines about 14 miles off the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket and allegedly generating enough power for 30,000 homes. The turbines are gigantic and have blades longer than a football field and are spaced about a nautical mile apart. The plan envisions 62 windmills powering roughly 400,000 homes. The project is hallowed by the Biden administration and recently Governor Healy indicated that “…the wind industry has gone from a dream to reality.”

The right whales however may be having nightmares instead of dreams. There are about 350 right whales left in the world. The whales can live to be 70-years-old and grow as large as 50 feet and 200,000 lbs. About 93% of them inhabit the area that the wind farm includes and are in danger of vessel strikes, entanglement with wires, and communication disruption because of the noise involved in the construction of the piles.

The Fist Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on March 5th, 2024 regarding an appeal from Nantucket Residents Against Turbines who oppose the project. The judges in their questions during argument seemed to lean toward a position that felt producing electricity for 90,000 homes was more important than the whales. Judge Gelpi, a Biden appointee, felt that “processes that needed to be followed were” and “it’s not a perfect world.” Judge Kayatta, an Obama appointee, indicated:

Although there are few right whales, they have had an outsized impact on the judicial system recently, with the state of Maine challenging federal fishing regulations designed to protect the whales and the Maine lobster industry suing an environmental group for defamation over its claims that the industry is endangering the whales, among other cases — “We’re familiar with the whales,” Kayatta commented dryly.

Thomas F. Harrison, Courthouse News Service (3/5/2024) — See Full Article