Vineyard Wind does right by right whales

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Vineyard Wind, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the National Wildlife Federation, and the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) entered into an agreement to help protect the North Atlantic right whale.

The agreement involves a number of protective measures to keep right whales safe during construction and operation of Vineyard Wind’s proposed 84-turbine project off the coast of Massachusetts.

Protective measures will include reduced construction during winter and early spring, when right whales may be in the area, continued monitoring to ensure construction does not take place while whales are near the site, strict vessel speed limits in the area, and decreased construction noise to ensure right whale communication and migratory patterns are not disturbed.

“This innovative agreement is proof that we can grow the clean energy we need to power our homes and businesses and at the same time protect vulnerable wildlife like the iconic North Atlantic right whale,” said Nathanael Greene, senior renewable energy advocate at the NRDC. The agreement also includes a commitment by Vineyard Wind to give $3 million to develop and deploy technologies to ensure heightened protections for right whales.

There are approximately 400 right whales left in the wild, making them one of the most critically endangered large whale species on the planet. Whaling is no longer a threat to the right whales, but humans still remain the biggest danger to the aquatic mammals due to entanglement in fishing lines and vessel strikes, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website.

“As we ask more of our oceans, we must ensure that we balance the critical need for clean energy with the protection of our majestic right whales and other marine species,” Dr. Priscilla Brooks, director of ocean conservation at CLF, said. “This agreement marks a significant step forward in responsible development of offshore wind energy.”