NOAA proposes massively cruel offshore sonar survey


By David Wojick

You would think that with all the uproar over whale deaths, NOAA and the offshore wind industry would be more careful about harassing huge numbers of marine mammals. On the contrary, NOAA’s latest proposal sets a new record for needless cruelty.

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is taking comments on an outrageously destructive harassment proposal from Invenergy Wind off the coast of New Jersey, where whale deaths have been greatest. Here is the proposal:

It is called a “site characterization survey,” and it does include a new offshore wind development site that Invenergy picked up last year with a whopping bid of $645 million. That apparently buys a lot of Federal cooperation because this is nothing like a site survey.

You see, the site is a mere 131 square miles, while the proposed sonar blasting survey area is over 6,000 square miles. In other words, the site is a mere 2% of the survey area, so it is clearly not a site survey.

What is the 98% non-site survey for? There is no actual explanation, but it is labeled the Export Cable Route (ECR) area. There is no actual export cable route, so they are surveying every place it might conceivably go. Some of the ECR area is absurd as a potential cable location, especially that which is as far out to sea as the project or further.

This possible-cable area is enormous. It runs from New York City to south of Atlantic City and from the Jersey Shore to over 50 miles out to sea. The front page of the NMFS proposal linked above has a map, conveniently showing both the tiny site area and the huge ECR area.

Not surprisingly, given this huge area, the predicted marine mammal harassment numbers are appalling:

138 Whales

1,900 Seals

950 Porpoises

1,742 Dolphins

Total = 4,730 or just under 5,000 supposedly protected marine mammals

This is needless cruelty personified. They clearly have no idea where the cables will go. That will be determined by who takes the Power Purchase Agreement, if anybody, and where they can come ashore to deliver the juice.

The results of this incredibly destructive 6,000-square-mile survey will be almost entirely irrelevant when that happens. All that will matter is what lies between the project site and the landing point. Obviously, the cable route survey should wait until that location is known, thus saving thousands of protected critters from harmful harassment.

That NMFS should propose this huge amount of needless harassment is an issue in itself. NMFS, known simply as NOAA Fisheries, seems to have abandoned its mission to protect marine mammals in favor of reckless offshore wind industrialization.

Here is their mission statement: “NOAA Fisheries is responsible for the stewardship of the nation’s ocean resources and their habitat.” These are living resources to be cared for, not industrial wind facilities.

In particular, NMFS is supposed to enforce the Marine Mammals Protection Act. Allowing the pointless harassment of thousands of marine mammals is the opposite of protection.

They cannot have failed to notice that this is not a site characterization survey. NMFS should have rejected the Invenergy proposal as absurdly overreaching and cruel.

Even worse, NMFS claims that this mass harassment of thousands of protected critters is not an environmental impact, so it does not fall under NEPA. Harassment is clearly an adverse impact, plus it can easily lead to deadly behavior. For example, it includes causing deafness which in one of the world’s busiest shipping areas is obviously life-threatening.

Given this absurdly cruel proposal, NOAA Fisheries needs to be redirected back to its mission. To begin with, the Invenergy proposal must be rejected.


David Wojick

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.

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Gunga Din
June 6, 2023 6:37 am

I’m sure the number of dead whales washed up will eventually drop as the number of live whales eventually drops.

Reply to  Gunga Din
June 6, 2023 6:45 am

Similar to the effect of planned parenthood, where child mortality drops as our Posterity is marginalized in color blocs under the doctrine of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DIE)… uh, DEI.

The Other Nick
Reply to  n.n
June 6, 2023 7:58 am

You know of course its called Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), because if it was correctly represented as Diversity, Inclusion and Equity (DIE) it would be rejected.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  The Other Nick
June 6, 2023 8:42 am

hmmm… dei means gods in Latin

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
June 6, 2023 9:43 am

Cultural appropriation and assimilation into a prehistoric religion (i.e. behavioral protocol) dictated by mortal gods, goddesses, and experts.

Reply to  The Other Nick
June 6, 2023 9:38 am

Their use of “diversity” implies color judgments and class-based bigotry. The logic of the doctrine that follows is diversity is inequity and exclusion (DIE). The logical alternative is diversity of individuals, minority of one… but where is the leverage in that. Diversity doctrine is the basis of class-disordered ideologies.

Reply to  n.n
June 6, 2023 4:44 pm

Dai versity
is the nickname of a Welshman called David who did a phd in Oxford.

Reply to  n.n
June 6, 2023 8:08 am

Just a question, have you seen the ‘excess death’ stats that are seen coming out now from the various national health agencies? Dr. John Campbell, for instance (on YT), has covered, reviewed and commented on some of this data. (PS He also has a mirror channel on Rumble.)

Reply to  _Jim
June 6, 2023 9:55 am

Yes. It’s clearly related to the shot/jabs. We know that the spike protein is pathogenic. We know that it is persistent and migrates from the injection site. We know that pathogenic progress strongly depends on how infection occurs, elevated with certain nutritional deficiencies, and sustained with several comorbidities that are correlated but not exclusive to old age.

Reply to  n.n
June 6, 2023 10:17 am

“We” just realized “we” might have to do some research, because “we” found that whole dismissal cryptic. “We” might be focused on other pet issues and “we” also might not have trusted early versions of the virus data to be accurately reported. “We” don’t even have any experience with Rumble, though “we’ve” heard about it. Hopefully “we” can sneak into the party late and not offend the regulars.

Reply to  Gunga Din
June 6, 2023 10:06 am

Ironically, if every company strives for the same standard of diversity, success negates the dictionary definition of diversity. Again one is left to wonder, what is diversity anyway? (then I see certain famously un-namable WUWT message board posters get a billion thumbs-down in three seconds and I think, oh, that’s what it must look like.)

Reply to  Gunga Din
June 6, 2023 12:12 pm

No dead whales have been linked to any prior geophysical studies of the ocean bottom. C’mon, name a single one!

Saying “dead whales” doesn’t make them killed by ordinary marine geophysical studies.

David Wojick
Reply to  Duane
June 6, 2023 1:07 pm
David Wojick
Reply to  David Wojick
June 6, 2023 3:18 pm

Plus this article is not about dead whales, just hurt whales as numbered by the govmt.

Reply to  David Wojick
June 8, 2023 8:46 am

NOAA, BOEM, etc; document a whole host of adverse effects in this almost unreadable report:

Reply to  Duane
June 8, 2023 8:44 am

This is an extremely rare instance where I agree with Duane. We’ve been shooting marine seismic surveys, sidescan sonar surveys and other geophysical surveys all over the world for decades, with no documented impact on cetaceans. I discussed the subject extensively in this post:

comment image

The noise from geophysical surveys is transient, as opposed to the persistent low frequency noise from offshore wind turbines. Furthermore, when acquiring marine geophysical data, we have to shut down operations if whales or other cetaceans are sited in the vicinity.

I have no idea why there has been a sudden rash of whale beachings on the US east coast. There’s no reason that geophysical surveys for future windfarms would be more harmful to whales than oil & gas geophysical surveys… Unless they aren’t having to take the same precautions we do in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s possible that marine life in the Gulf of Mexico has adapted to our activities over the past 70 years; while the rapid escalation of wind-related activities off the east coast have been more difficult to adapt to.

The real harm to whales will come when these windfarms go into full time operation. It’ll also harm consumers who are already paying some of the highest electricity rates in the nation.

It is ironic that the flurry of wind power associated activity is coincident with a rash of whale deaths. It’s also doubly ironic the many of the folks who support the wind-associated surveys, oppose the same sorts of surveys used for oil & gas exploration.

June 6, 2023 6:42 am

The Green blight over land and sea is a renewable green resource, often adopted by green people… persons and corporations, but is rarely green, equitable, and inclusive (GEI).

Reply to  n.n
June 6, 2023 6:54 am

Insert link to Jeff Gibbs/Michael Moore’s movie “Planet of the Humans” here.

… we are losing the battle to stop climate change on planet earth because we are following leaders who have taken us down the wrong road — selling out the green movement to wealthy interest. …

Reply to  _Jim
June 6, 2023 12:02 pm

Truth in whole. Good for them. So-called Green technology has its application, but the published distortions do a disservice to people, ecology, and environment.

June 6, 2023 6:55 am

Sometimes it suits them to lay the precautionary principle aside

June 6, 2023 7:42 am

Protecting mankind from extinction is their belief…whales are irrelevant….

Reply to  DMacKenzie
June 6, 2023 8:10 am

If you change that to “Securing and holding onto absolute governing power” as their goal I’d agree.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
June 6, 2023 11:03 am

More like: whales are just the beginning.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
June 6, 2023 12:05 pm

If only. But, not even that. Humanity is variably, simultaneously designated a goal and a “burden”. A duality which they cannot reconcile and simply dismiss with empathetic appeal at best, and violence at worst.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
June 6, 2023 9:50 pm


Protecting the elite of mankind, maybe, The rest of us need to be culled according to Population Matters, Club of Rome, etc.

Mr Ed
June 6, 2023 7:47 am

It seems curious to me that the radical enviros who stop any and all management
activities in the National Forest other than burning here in the west via lawfare use wildlife as
the main focus of their lawsuits, wolverine, lynx, grizzly bears ect. But they
turn a blind eye to anything involved with wind towers such as bald eagles
getting killed and now marine life such as whales. It seems that a group might
be formed to do the same in this situation, turnabout being fair play. Or is
the political/judicial corruption just too deep? As I recall back in the earlier days
of these radicals they were considered to the the #1 terrorist group by the
FBI till the waco/ruby ridge/OK city bombing happened then the EarthFirst!!-ers
Sierra Club et al formed these lawfare groups and now it’s the so called white males who
are now the targets.

Reply to  Mr Ed
June 6, 2023 10:05 am

A diverse array of “burdens” from conception forward. The common thread is that their philosophy, religion, is internally, externally, and mutually inconsistent from first principles, but lack of reconciliation does not impede their progress.

Reply to  Mr Ed
June 6, 2023 10:53 pm

Don’t worry, it’s still OK to harvest and kill worms to go fishing.

Curious George
June 6, 2023 8:00 am

[NOAA Fisheries] “to issue an incidental harassment authorization to incidentally take marine mammals during the specified activities.” The “activities” are “site characterization surveys”, whatever that means. Why do they kill whales for that?
This looks like a carefully planned incident.

Reply to  Curious George
June 6, 2023 10:30 am

The article needs to describe how NOAA defines “harassment” – It has left another research project to find the definition of a word that might have been misused in the first place.

Arguments seem to be people yelling the same ideas at each other using words that make their ideas sound different. Where’s Rodney King?

David Wojick
Reply to  KevinM
June 6, 2023 1:48 pm

Harassment in this case does not mean directly stunning or killing the critter with the sonar blasters. It is limited to frightening and temporary deafness, both of which can be fatal but that is not the issue. There is no reasonable reason to harass 6,000 sq miles of critters given a 131 sq mile site to be mapped. It is illegal.

Reply to  David Wojick
June 6, 2023 3:14 pm

Temporarily deafen 50x more sea creatures than needed to save a few minutes of guesswork for somebody with a middle America masters degree in geology? Sure, me and that guy have emails to answer.

Note to sea creatures: opposable thumbs and semiconductor engineering – priceless.

The Other Nick
June 6, 2023 8:15 am

The surveys for off shore wind farms seem to kill off various sea manuals
The wind turbines seem to kill off birds, and insects. Life span 10 years?
The solar farms seem to fry birds and insects. The panels last at best 15 – 20 years
The EV cars all need huge amounts of environmentally poor mining and processing, not to mention huge amounts of cheap electricity. Then after 10 years the batteries are dead.
BUT, as they say but, but, its all to save the planet.
When the wind turbines need replacing and the solar farms need new panels, what savings really occurred?
Where are they going to dump the junk?
What happens with the EV car batteries?
All for the good of saving the planet. BUMKUM!!!
What dam climate change are these idiots going on about? It is all based on models from some poorly constructed computer model.
How can they even say their models predict the climate in 10 – 100 years when most Bureau of Meteorology’s can’t even predict the weather for the next 5 days correctly?

Reply to  The Other Nick
June 6, 2023 10:34 am

“The solar farms seem to fry birds and insects. The panels last at best 15 – 20 years”
I think these two statements that a casual reader might assume describe the same solar farm actually describe two separate categories of solar farm.

Reply to  The Other Nick
June 6, 2023 11:09 am

“It is all based on models from some poorly constructed computer model.”

It all based on deliberately and maliciously constructed models with fudge factors manually adjusted to achieve predetermined outcomes.

Calling these models poorly constructed is too generous.

June 6, 2023 8:40 am

Story tip – Arctic summer ice


“” Maslowski added that his prediction was on the conservative side, too: “Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007. So given that fact, you can argue that may be our projection of 2013 is already too conservative.”

And now

“”Too late now to save Arctic summer ice, climate scientists find””

They’re jolly miffed

“”As scientists, we’ve been warning about the loss of Arctic summer sea ice for decades.

People didn’t listen to our warnings.””

Reply to  strativarius
June 6, 2023 5:46 pm

Worst scientists ever…outright self aggrandizing liars who can’t read graphs.

Kevin Kilty
June 6, 2023 9:28 am

Over at a site named, the website of Public Utilities Fortnightly, which has gone deep green and terribly correct, had a transcript to a speech made by John Podesta on May 10th about the need to change permitting of large projects. I wrote about it at the ManhattanContrarian website, but I’ll repeat a little what I said there. In effect what this means is that NEPA is likely to be weakened because it might be used to make the green new deal live up to its own rules.

Here are the first two paragraphs…

“The permitting process for clean energy infrastructure, including transmission, is plagued by delays and bottlenecks. These delays are pervasive at every level of government, federal, state, and local.

We got so good at stopping projects that we forgot how to build things in America. It’s been this way for a while….”

Then a couple of paragraphs later

“…Eighty-one percent of voters support the development of new transmission. A majority say that permitting reform should prioritize clean energy projects over fossil fuels….”

In effect, making certain Saul Alinsky’s playbook is ours alone to use.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Kevin Kilty
June 7, 2023 3:24 am

“Eighty-one percent of voters support the development of a new transmission”

I’m skeptical of that number. Did the poll mention that developing new transmission might adversely affect the whales and other marine creatures? I would bet money it didn’t.

Yeah, if a whale gets in the way of Nut Zero, then that’s just too bad, say the Delusional Climate Change Alarmists.

Patrick Hrushowy
June 6, 2023 9:58 am

Acceptable collateral damage, I suppose!

June 6, 2023 10:02 am

uproar over whale deaths
Honestly? I don’t think so.
One cute fluffy puppy and a billion wales? I’ll rescue the puppy.

Dave Fair
Reply to  KevinM
June 6, 2023 3:13 pm

Would you kill an endangered Bald Eagle to save the puppy? Its like the conflict (fun?) when watching one endangered animal killing another endangered animal.

Reply to  Dave Fair
June 7, 2023 9:36 am

Exceptionally grim. Also complicated because the puppy eats from a supermarket, and the eagle eats rodents that would raid farms. Needs research. Someone might say I shortchange whales and their role in the marine ecosystem. Someone needs to have a better sense of humor.

Dave Fair
Reply to  KevinM
June 7, 2023 11:51 pm

That is humor, Kevin. Lighten up.

Reply to  KevinM
June 6, 2023 3:19 pm

Meant to type “whales” not “wales”. I’d rescue wales… even if it meant enduring the last few years of Gareth Bale’s contract with Madrid.

Hans Erren
June 6, 2023 10:15 am

The hypocrisy of the greens that they are standing front row to stop a marine survey to protect the whales when it is for oil prospection.

Reply to  Hans Erren
June 6, 2023 11:13 am

They are just a tool, they do what they are told.

Reply to  Someone
June 6, 2023 3:20 pm

Me too. Bills to pay.

the Postman
June 6, 2023 11:10 am

“NMFS, known simply as NOAA Fisheries, seems to have abandoned its mission to protect marine mammals in favor of reckless offshore wind industrialization.”

The author seems to assume that the mission of the NMFS and its raison d’etre (or reason for being) are actually one and the same. As someone who has done extensive historical research, much of which has focused on the progenitor of the NMFS known as the “U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries” (est. 1871) and having found that both of these entities have collaborated — “conspired” would be far more accurate — with the commercial Menhaden fishing industry, resulting in the Atlantic and Gulf Menhaden fisheries being brought almost to the brink of collapse as per H. Bruce Franklin’s incredible exposé, “The Most Important Fish in the Sea”, I can assure him that they’re definitely not one and the same. This is especially true considering that this historical precedent isn’t even the only one that demonstrates the depths of the U.S. government’s hypocrisy with regards to the marine life it pretends to give a rat’s ass about. [story tip – lots of em]

Reply to  the Postman
June 6, 2023 3:25 pm

fisheries being brought almost to the brink of collapse

The ocean is big. I think it would be reeeeeeaaaaaaaaalllly hard to extinct an ocean fish that breeds at less than 5 ft long. I’m willing to be wrong. Google doesn’t give me a lot about extinct fish except pictures of weird bony-faced monsters it attributes to pre-history.

the Postman
Reply to  KevinM
June 6, 2023 4:00 pm

The ocean is big for sure but Menhaden don’t occupy the ocean per se but rather, just a narrow strip along each coast. And I’m not talking about extinction here. It’s possible to bring a population to, and maintain it at a level of near collapse without actual extinction taking place.

June 6, 2023 12:10 pm

Dude! Did you even bother to read the published proposal that you linked to?

If you had, you’d know that under the methodology proposed, no marine mammal will be harmed at all. The extraordinary lengths gone to ensure that no marine mammal is harmed is amazing.

Yet the author has the audacity to label this study as “cruel”.

Geophysical studies like this are performed all the time – it is how any subsurface marine development is preceded.

The massive tonnage of crocodile tears emitted by this author is what is cruel. To the readers, being led to believe that the study is exactly the opposite of what it really will be.

Curious George
Reply to  Duane
June 6, 2023 12:18 pm

Duane: you must have read some other proposal. This one specifically mentions incidentally taking marine mammals
Are windmills a subsurface marine development?

David Wojick
Reply to  Duane
June 6, 2023 2:01 pm

They propose to authorize just under 5,000 instances of Level B harassments, for no reason. This includes adverse impacts up to temporary deafness so I think “cruelty” applies. Do you think that deafness is not harm? To critters that live by sound as we live by sight? Plus they deny that deafness can be fatal in heavy ship traffic which is absurd.

Reply to  Duane
June 6, 2023 3:27 pm

harmed” another word that can mean different things to the people on opposite sides.

June 6, 2023 1:17 pm

It is time to shut down NOAA, they have outlived their usefulness.

Reply to  Bob
June 6, 2023 3:31 pm

My imaginary tax dollars pay for much useless-er things. Lets keep NOAA around because they publish data on schedule.

Reply to  KevinM
June 6, 2023 5:23 pm

Nope, time for them to go.

Gilbert K. Arnold
June 6, 2023 2:34 pm

Hmmm…. “marine fisheries”… do I detect an oxymoron here….are their “land fisheries”? and we must not forget the sharks….. /s

Reply to  Gilbert K. Arnold
June 6, 2023 3:28 pm

Aquaculture? Rivers? Yeah  “marine fisheries” seems redundant in context.

June 6, 2023 8:56 pm

NOAA Fisheries needs to be redirected back to its mission”

no, ALL of NOAA needs to be eradicated, along with the 3-letter fed agencies.

June 6, 2023 10:42 pm

People care a lot about whales until they get in the way. It’s the same with raptors. They are all unconditionally protected until they get in the way which at such time a license is issued to make the illegal behavior legal.

June 7, 2023 10:01 am

Planet savior’s reasoning at its best :

  1. It’s self-evident that to save the planet and thus the whales, we have to kill them all.
  2. In the same vein, according to J. Kerry, to be able to feed the populace, the best way is, in the first place, to starve them all to death.
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