David Wojick, Ph.D.
Despite public proclamations of innocence, it turns out BOEM and NOAA clearly acknowledge the deadly threat of offshore wind development to marine mammals. Not surprisingly they do it in documents that are subject to judicial review, lest they be caught fibbing.
Of course these admissions are well hidden, buried in the depths of thousand page documents, but they are there to be found. These are the Draft Environmental Impact Statements (DEIS) that precede each offshore wind project. They are jointly prepared by BOEM and NOAA.
The key is that the overall project EIS includes the EIS for NOAA’s harassment authorizations for the construction of that project. In fact you can find this language by searching the DEIS for the word “harassment”. I am told that this is standard language which varies little from project to project.
The standard language says just what we have been saying! Harassment is likely to lead to dangerous behavior, including increased likelihood of deadly ship strikes and entanglements. It also says, as we have, that having multiple projects increases these risks.
Here is a good example of admitting that harassment is can cause harm. I could not have said it better.
“It is possible that pile driving could displace animals into areas with lower habitat quality or higher risk of vessel collision or fisheries interaction. Multiple construction activities within the same calendar year could potentially affect migration, foraging, calving, and individual fitness. The magnitude of impacts would depend upon the locations, duration, and timing of concurrent construction. Such impacts could be long term, of high intensity, and of high exposure level. Generally, the more frequently an individual’s normal behaviors are disrupted or the longer the duration of the disruption, the greater the potential for biologically significant consequences to individual fitness. The potential for biologically significant effects is expected to increase with the number of pile-driving events to which an individual is exposed.”
Empire Wind DEIS v.1, Page 3.15-14, PDF page 372
This warning is about risks created by pile driving but all forms of acoustic harassment fit this description. NOAA harassment authorizations are based on the estimated number of critters that will be exposed to unsafe sound levels. The source of the dangerous sounds is irrelevant. What matters most is the volume. Sound is a pressure wave; the louder the sound the greater the physical pressure on the hearing system. Pain and physical damage are possible.
In fact the infamous sonar surveying sounds, implicated in the whale deaths to date, can be much louder that the incredibly loud pile driving. Driving the enormous piles for the proposed wind projects is estimated to create sounds around 190 decibels, which is painfully loud in humans.
But some sonar equipment deliberately emits sounds over 200 decibels. Decibels is a log scale so this is not just 5% greater than 190; it is much greater.
Thus it makes no sense that NOAA claims sonar surveys have no significant impact and so do not fall under NEPA, while pile driving does. This is especially true when, as just happened, a dozen different projects are given simultaneous authorization to acoustically harass large numbers of whales.
What is important is that NOAA and a BOEM are clearly stating that the acoustic threats we have been warning about and suspecting are real. The telling correlations between sonar blasting and increased whale deaths cannot be waived away.
Correlation is not causation, but correlation between cause and predicted effect is very strong evidence that the cause is effective. NOAA and BOEM’s repeated insistence that there is no evidence offshore wind development is killing whales is clearly contradicted by their own Environmental Impact Statements.
David Wojick, Ph.D. is an independent analyst working at the intersection of science, technology and policy. For origins see
For over 100 prior articles for CFACT see
Available for confidential research and consulting.
But green prayer wheels are sacred! How dare anyone claim faults with those holy devices?
Trees, birds, bats, bugs, or people do not matter! We must have wind turbines, or Gaia will be offended!
Whales, schmales; they were yesterday’s doomsday poster children. What REALLY matters is chasing the chimera of “net zero.”
With ouroboros policies.
From save the whales to…. sacrifice the whales
“”As we said, there is no evidence whale and other marine mammal mortality has been caused by offshore wind development. “”
A fascinating article that doggedly avoids the truth of the matter
Yes what they want for evidence is impossible, namely watching a whale get killed. The simple fact is harassment can kill and there has been a tremendous amount of harassment, with much more planned.
And it’s endorsed by “fakeFactcheck”, too
Nice that they show the humpback death rate jumping up in 2016, which is when systematic harassment began. A fact they fail to mention.
They give the standard set of fallacies, ignoring that level B harassment can be fatal. If you throw a firecracker at a dog causing it to run into a busy street and be killed by a car, the car killed the dog but the firecracker is what is called the ultimate cause of death. No one us saying that harassment kills the whales directly, but as the EIA quote above says, it can cause deadly shipstrikes and entanglements, which we are seeing a lot of as the fact check says.
Harassment kills and a huge amount of harassment has been authorized. The evidence is glaring.
BOEM, NOAA, authorized harassment began, as stated in DEIS and EIS
Wait for it! Nick or Mosh will tell us that house cats k!ll more fish than offshore windmills! Just like they k!ll more birds, so never mind those condors and bald eagles.
(Please, humor-impaired, I know that whales are not fish, sarcasm)
Jane Fonda doesn’t care anymore. She supports wind power over humane concerns.
Is there some kind of bizzare “Poster Child” lottery? Polar Bears are in but Whales are out? Spotted Owls are in but Loggers are out? Capistrano Swallows are in but Raptors are out? Marine Mammels are in but Salmon are out? Well, for sure, WOKE is in and Reality is out.
Offshore wind may or may not kill or injure whales but it will certainly injure the economy.
There is an interesting chart of the comparative contributions of different underwater noise sources in this publication.
Seismic and pile driving are second only to depth charges and underwater eruptions and earthquakes.
Seismic surveys are conducted to map geological structures beneath
the seabed, both for the oil and gas industries and research purposes,
using arrays of airguns towed from seismic vessels. An airgun is a
compressed-air-filled cylinder and when the air is suddenly released,
it causes a transient high-pressure peak that can create a sound with
very high sound pressure levels (>230 dB re 1 μPa m).
Concerning fishes, studies show that Barotrauma (= the physical
damage to tissue caused by noise) and even mortality was found
in response to high intensity impulsive sounds such as from piledriving
and explosions. As in the case of hearing impairment, the
magnitude of injury was dependent on the received dose (Popper
et al., 2014, 2019).
The most widely accepted explanation for the cause of strandings is that
the received sonar pulses trigger an extreme behavioural reaction
resulting in rapid dives and surfacing which lead to decompression
sickness effects, similar to what happens to humans when getting
‘the bends’, which in case of the affected whales can lead to fatal
stranding (see Bernaldo de Quirós et al., 2019).
This just proves that NOAA is a political organization selling the latest climate alarmist fearmongering.
We can’t trust the people running NOAA. They are obviously liars misleading the American public for political purposes, which have nothing to do with science.
The following is an extract from a pdf sent to me from Save The Whales:
I posted this 2 days ago in response to a Nick Stokes comment.
Yes that is from one of my 20 whales articles to date:
I am quoting experts.
Climate alarmists and their delusional thinking are a disaster for the natural world.
Let Europe finish off the whales while foot dragging on solar cell purchases made in the Chinese gulag.
Pivoting arms could stabilize massive floating offshore wind turbines (newatlas.com)
“Floating offshore platforms offer an alternative, but the engineering challenges here are enormous. A typical 14-megawatt offshore turbine, for example, might place a 500-ton nacelle on top of a 130-meter (427-feet) tower, spinning three 108-meter (354-feet) long carbon blades into the full force of a gale out at sea.”
“Balancing a monster pinwheel like that on a floating base is no mean feat, and doing it in a way that can easily be manufactured, installed and deployed at low cost? Well, that’s a billion-dollar problem that many companies are racing to solve.”
Yes, floating wind turbines is all the rage in Europe, as a way to build in deeper water. Our west coast as well. As a civil engineer I am skeptical of their stability in high winds, especially hurricanes.
Europe has few whales because they hunted them out long ago. The Brits would not have sent sailing ships to West Greenland if they had whales near home.
“Our fingertips were frozen off and likewise our toenails
As we crawled on the deck me boys
Lookin out for the Greenland whale
Lookin out for the Greenland whale”
David, you may be interested in this paper I recently came across. Although it is not about whales it discusses the various types of offshore WT platforms and the loads upon them.
S Wang, Y Xing, A KaraRathil, O Gaidi. ‘A comparison study of power performance and extreme load effects of large 10MW offshore wind turbines’ 27th March 2023
A climate of [catastrophic] [anthropogenic] Green blight.
During a meeting about whales and hurricanes, etc, in New Jersey
Liz Klein, a Biden-posse-appointed, political leader of BOEM, should have had the following answers to some really simple questions from the anxious, upset audience.
In case of a Category 2 or 3 hurricane, with winds over 50 mph, all wind turbines, on land and offshore, would be shut down to prevent damage!!
That means, a large fleet of traditional, quick-reacting power plants would have to be staffed, fueled, and kept in good working order, to be immediately ready to provide electric power during high-wind conditions
They would also provide power during minimal-wind conditions and all other wind conditions, 24/7/365.
As even the most obtuse RE folks would agree, now we would have TWO power systems, which, of course, cost a whole lot more than having just one power system.
All those extra costs have been, are now, and will be charged to already-struggling ratepayers, taxpayers and added to already-bloated government debt, while people are trying to survive high interest rates and high inflation, and low, real GDP growth, despite huge deficit spending every month.
BTW, US 2023, 1st-qtr GDP growth was 0.1% versus 2022, 1st-qtr GDP, while US deficit spending is running at $100 billion/MONTH and US trade deficit is running at $100 billion/MONTH, with official inflation at 5%, and unofficial inflation at 8 to 10%, with wages growing at less than these percentages.
Welcome to the Biden-in-the-basement, economy-destroying idiocies.
It is extremely doubtful, the US could survive another 4 years of his demented shenanigans, including his US society-destroying open borders, and inane arms supply for corrupt Ukraine for “as long as it takes”
BTW, ALL OF THE ABOVE HAS ALREADY BEEN A FACT IN EUROPE.
LOOK AT WHAT UNREST HAS BEEN HAPPENING IN FRANCE, GERMANY AND THE UK REGARDING THE INANENESS OF “NET-ZERO/ELECTRIFY-EVERYTHING”
In the North Sea, which has some big wind storms each year, wind turbines last about 15 years, instead of the 25 years bandied about by naive, semi-lobotomized/brain-washed, media-befuddled RE folks.
They lose performance each year, because of salt water corrosion, and wear and tear, which requires more maintenance and more down time, and less production time, which leads to lower capacity factors, and more costs/kWh.
At 10 years, they usually need new rotor blades, which requires special crane ships
It used to be, the new replacement blades were aero-dynamically more efficient, but that refinement game is just about over.
The old blades need to be disposed of in so-called “land fills”
In the Midwest of the US, there is a growing number of fields covered with used rotor blades, that cannot be economically reprocessed.
Of course, the variable, grid-disturbing wind output, MW, could not be fed to the grid, unless counteracted by quick-reacting power plants, such as CCGT and hydro plants, 24/7/365, as in Quebec and Norway
Welcome to increasing environmental destruction, for the benefit of the tax shelters of the well-connected, private plane/yacht/country-club, multi-millionaire folks.
“As even the most obtuse RE folks would agree, now we have two power systems, which of course cost a whole lot more than having just one power system”
Not Nick Stokes however!
The exception confirms the rule.
sean hayes , noaa chief for species protection filed a report with noaa / epa that offshore wind is the greatest threat to whale survival ; but it has apparently been suppressed.
you can easily google : sean hayes noaa chief of endangered species protection warns of threat to whales
I do not give a shit about whales.
One local tourist attraction is whale watching in small boats. Only thing dumber is David W.
Idiots (most of poster here) debate things they know nothing about like making electrify by making long list pro and con.
That is not how the world works. I am a retired engineer with lots of experience making electricity. We pick good ways to make electricty.
Here is an example: https://transmission.bpa.gov/business/operations/wind/baltwg.aspx
Hydro is a good way to make electricity. The save the whale idiots want to tear out the dams.
Steam is a good way to make electricity. I can see that the local nuke plant (I worked there 30 years ago) is still running but will shut down for refueling soon. Lots of snow in the mountains for hydro. The save the whale idiots want to tear out the nuke plant.
Wind is a good way to make electricity where I am at. No really, there it in the link I provided.
We had a sailboat race Saturday. As you can see there was not much wind. My heavy boat did not do very well. Two small light boat did better. I had a nice sail by using the wind to counter the current which did not get me across the finish line. Another heavy boat drifted down river.
If the race was on Sunday, I may have won.
On hot summer days and cold winters nights natural gas has replaced coal.
Wind is a good way in my location because first we have a good wind resource. Second the wind farms are located in dryland wheat fields without lots of birds. Other power sources balance wind. Fossil fuels are imported so, wind reduces money leaving the area.
Since power is exported to Califonia so that bring money into the area.
My point is there are good reasons for doing things. David W is engaging in an idiotic argument. QED.
Bad you are not a whale…
If you think offshore wind is a good way to make electricity you are not a very good engineer. Intermittency is intractable. Do the math.
Or see my https://heartland.org/opinion/a-simple-reason-why-net-zero-is-impossible/.
I had to look up the word ‘intractable’. I do not think it means what David think it means.
I provided an example wind variability that was easy to manage.
Intractable: very difficult or impossible to control, manage, or solve (Cambridge online dictionary)
Intermittency is indeed intractable.
Mike I posted a link showing BPA does it. So does PJM, Midwwest ISO, CAISO, EDF and everyone else everyday.
Just because you are not trained to do it does not mean others not.
Me landing a jet on an aircraft carrier is indeed intractable. However, I saw many times jets land on aircraft carriers. My training was nuclear propulsion. The training was difficult. Actually dealing with power changes not so much.
The reason I looked up the is that I have never heard it used in this context.
Looks to me to be precisely what David meant..
Oxford English dictionary definition:
hard to control or deal with.
“intractable economic problems”
out of control
out of hand
impossible to cope with
(of a person) difficult or stubborn.
I also don’t think an engineer would use terms like “making electrify” and “make electricty”…
Kit P, who are you really? Hard to imagine an Engineer so dysfunctional. QED?
“Idiots (most of poster here) debate things they know nothing about”
It’s a good thing we have you around to straighten everybody out then, isn’t it.
“The save the whale idiots want to tear out the nuke plant.”
This particular WUWT, save the whale idiot (me), wants us to tear down all the windmills and build nuclear power plants instead. So you are incorrect in your characterization of the thinking of at least some of the posters here at WUWT.
Do you feel better now that you have got that all off your chest?
So Tom, how many nuke plants have you participated in building? My count is 9, which does not a large number that of plants that I helped with extending the plant life and uprating the power rating.
It is stupid to want to tear down wind turbines that are producing power. It is stupid to build nuke plants we do not need.
So Tom, consider yourself straightened out. I would like like to take you off my idiot list.
“It is stupid to want to tear down wind turbines that are producing power.”
Not in my opinion. There are lots of good reasons for getting rid of windmills.
” It is stupid to build nuke plants we do not need.”
That’s true, but in the real world, they are needed. Germany and the UK could use a couple of extra nukes right about now, or rather, years ago, before the windmill craze jacked up all the electricity prices.
We (the whole world) obviously need the electricity and that should be from nuclear power, not windmills.
Is there anything uglier than a windmill? Especially, considering that they are not necessary to the progress of human civilization since there is no need to reduce CO2 in the first place,which is what windmills are supposed to address?
Windmills are the symbol of the Human-caused Climate Change Scam.
Tom thanks for the thoughtful reply. I will assume you do not have any experience in the power industry because you did not answer my question.
One good reason to shut down operating generation is that repair cost are more than the generation.
I am currently between two wind farms because it is a good place to sail. When I started sailing here 30 years ago there were no wind farms.
I got a call from back east about participating in a large project. I said it was not economical and we did not participate. It turned out to be a scam and people went to jail. However, once it was built another company bought and has been operating it for about 20 years (disclosure, I have stock in that company).
Many other wind farms have been in the PNW. Profitability depends on the cost of natural gas.
So it is good in the PNW. I also think wind turbines are beautiful like some bridges.
Here is the deal with Germany. It like whales, I do not give a shit about how Germany makes electricity. I do not live there.
Germany is done as an industrialized country. Depending on Putin for energy was a mistake.
I learned a little bit of acoustics while working at GEC Research labs – we were asked to devise a contraption for (believe or not) measuring the amount of coal inside storage bunkers/silos at collieries and the project leader thought that an acoustic radar would be the way to do it.
But meanwhile I picked up some immaculate trivia concerning sound and sound pressure levels and human hearings.
Esp: How not to permanently deafen yourself
I think it came from British Standards Institute for ‘noise at work’
In a nutshell it said that for an 8 hour working day, no-one should be subjected to sound/noise in excess of 90dBA
Else your ears will be wasted
For acoustics that’s all you need to remember in conjunction with the fact that for every 3dB louder, you halve the time you are allowed to be exposed before permanent hearing loss ensues…
90dB= 8hrs93dB= 4hrs96dB= 2hrsetc etc129dB= 3.5 seconds and classically what you’d experience within 30 metres of a large jet aircraft as it warms up to leave the premisesDon’t push 130dB – which will destroy your (unprotected) ears instantly and permanently.
Sound pressures above 150dB are what you might use to drill holes in concrete.
And they are talking 200dB+ for the whales to put up with – although there is the one-over-R-squared power with distance drop off.
Meanwhile their claims about what whales can hear and the sound the explosions and bangings make are total garbage and hideous lies.
These people should be taken out and shot
Our man Willis will tell us all about this with his frequency analysis tools, but if you do even an ordinary Fourier transform on ‘an explosion’ or sudden impulse, you will see a near perfect flat spectrum.
i.e. Loud bangs and explosions smother the entire frequency spectrum right from 0.0001Hz clear on up to 1MHz+
Ain’t that crazy, what you hear as a loud crack or bang is actually the same as white noise (hiss) – both contain all the same frequencies and in the same amounts.
There is no escape.
Well, that at least explains why my hearing is deteriorating after sufferieng a year in the engine-room of a steamship where very loud turbine noise was augmented by several large generators pounding away. But it took 60 years for the effect to become noticeable – Maybe it’s time for some practical experimentation on those CAGW loons?
Whales as well as birds. Then the windmills end up in landfills after the material fatigue sets. So exactly how are these wind generators good for the environment?
Greens and other progressives are not rational people.
There it is!
Amazing how this bs keeps popping as an attack on offshore wind. It is not a thing, at all.
Reading an EIS that only describes theoretical “could be” generalized theories of potential harm is like saying that cliffs are dangerous because an animal might fall off one. Of no useful information whatsoever.
First of all, pile driving can be done such that there is no loud noise at all, using standard vibratory drivers. Unless trying to drive very deep piles thru rock there is no need to use a falling hammer pile driver. Also, whatever little bit of noise that might be created is a one time only affair, not a life of project affair. Once the piles are driven there is no more noise again, ever.
The hair pulling over wind farm sonars is even far more ridiculous. The wind developers are required, as a matter of getting their projects approved and permitted, to set up sea life monitoring sonars where the turbines will be located – all of which sonars use only the tiniest amount of power compared to an active sonar on a warship – sub or surface. Even at extreme warship sonar power levels, only about 120 dB, it is still far below the claimed 200 dB threshold for harm to whales and other sea life.
We are talking here about common fish finders that every fishing boat in the world uses, that only need and use a handful of watts of transmission power for the shallow sea depths associated with offshore wind development … as compared to the hundreds of kilowatts of transmission power for military active sonars designed to reach down thousands of feet and extend outward for tens of miles.
Also, fish finder sonars use relatively high frequency beams, 200 kHz typically, far above the frequency sensing ability of whales or fish. Whales cannot detect any sound higher than 130 kHz.
Bottom line: warship sonars and fishfinders/whalefinders used to monitor sea life around offshore wind farms are simply not comparable … in the same way that blue whales and minnows are not comparable, even though both swim in water.
Science, people, not warmunist-style fake science.
Oh … and for all of the alligator years being shed here at WUWT over the poor whales from offshore wind farms, why aren’t you shedding gazillions of tons more tears over the vastly more numerous, placed in far deeper water, oil and gas offshore platforms?
I mean really!!!
Because oil drilling is far less noisy, and platform installation doesn’t involve piling hundreds of monopiles to produce a paltry few hundred MW.
There are no O&G platforms off the east coast.
When working offshore in Bass St several platforms had resident seal colonies living happily within the structure in a pristine environment.
“””””Reading an EIS that only describes theoretical “could be” generalized theories of potential harm is like saying that cliffs are dangerous because an animal might fall off one. Of no useful information whatsoever.”””””
Geez, you think CO2 falls into the “theoretical” too?
All I’ve ever seen are “generalized theories of potential harm”, for CO2!
Bottom line you cite no sources. Please see mine linked above, and note how disruptive sounds affect marine life: it is not just about direct fatal damage, but consequential effects that can lead to death. Noise from sonar is much less than noise from piling and seismic. Enough of your fake science.
In general, marine mammals hear in a relatively wide bandwidth,
much beyond what humans can hear, which is between 20 Hz and
20 kHz. Whales can likely hear infrasound (below 20 Hz) and dolphins
and other toothed whales can hear ultrasound up to around 200
NOAA estimates (and approves) the number of marine mammals, by species, that will be subject to unsafe levels of sound. The total to date is about 150,000 exposures. Your claim that this harassment is all harmless is ridiculous in my view and statistics say otherwise, as does common sense. The wind sites are in low traffic areas surrounded by higher traffic. We know that whales avoid these noises so they must go into higher traffic. The probabilities are obvious and the numbers large. For example the humpback death rate tripled the year harassment began in earnest.
Even if all your points are granted,
what’s the goddam point of wind turbines being used to generate electricity anywhere, at sea or on land?
I would like to hear that answer, too.
The point is that someone gets to make policy and feel that they are doing something; the point is that someone gets to follow through on past policy … showing that ‘past policy was reasonable’; the point is that a few that have invested in past policy get to make money off the scheme; the point is that the useful idiots that bought into the false logic get to fight for & see a follow through.
Duane is either an (useful) idiot or a shill, but not very good at either.
How many carcasses will it take then?
Well that all makes sense. I did wonder…
The representatives for BOEM and NOAA who misinformed us need to be fired immediately along with their bosses.
Congressional Republicans should hold these Biden officials feet to the fire. They are lying to the American public and should be held accountable.
From the article: “NOAA and BOEM’s repeated insistence that there is no evidence offshore wind development is killing whales is clearly contradicted by their own Environmental Impact Statements.”
So NOAA and BOEM are knowingly, and deliberately lying to the American public.
I think this deserves a congressional investigation.
Another case of politics overriding science.
With all the dead whales being found around them it is a bit ridiculous for anyone to claim they ARE NOT killing whales. When are the prosecutions going to begin?
And another one bites the dust.
There is a lot of wind farm construction off the Yorkshire coast at the moment. Not sure that we will get to hear about any actual cause of death. Marine Life Rescue said that fin whales are not common in the North Sea, and it was “probably suffering from malnutrition or disease”. Perhaps they could do more to find out.
Worth pointing out that at 39ft this probably was a young whale, as adults can reach 80ft. Also there were reports of blood from near the tail. That might have been discharge from the digestive tract, or perhaps the consequence of propellor strike.