Whale Strandings Spark Wind Farm Conspiracy Theory

Block Island Wind Farm | U.S. Department of Energy photo, Flickr.com

ecoRI.org: There is nothing yet linking the Block Island Wind Farm to the death of humpback whales, but that hasn’t stopped anti-wind and conservative groups from making the connection.

The recent stranding and death of a 32’ juvenile humpback whale in Jamestown, RI, triggered speculation, and in some cases unsubstantiated assertions, that noise from the first U.S. offshore wind farm caused this and other whales to die. As the HuffPost recounts, the claim was first made by the conservative website Daily Caller and through a conservative news wire has been republished and rewritten in various forms by national new outlets such as The Blaze and through local anti-wind groups and press reports that inferred the link. The Newport Buzz names the 5-turbine wind farm as the prime suspect.

None of the anti-wind articles offer a scientist as a source for their claims or research that deduces that the wind farm, owned by Providence-based Deepwater Wind, caused the whale to beach itself. Only the HuffPost quoted a marine biologist, at Cornell University, who said wind turbines contribute to the cacophony of underwater noise from boats, ships and barges, and that this mix of manmade noise—which can also include sonar, fossil-fuel drilling, and military exercises and testing—can disorient but isn’t likely to kill marine life.

Read more about the anti-wind farm conspiracy theory surrounding the recent strandings of humpback whales.