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Biden administration sued over Virginia offshore wind farm approval

A conservative think tank on Monday sued the Biden administration in an effort to reverse approval of what would be the largest offshore wind farm of its kind.

The Heartland Institute filed the suit with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, a nonprofit that advocates for an economically libertarian approach to environmental action and has denied the existence of human-caused climate change. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks to reverse the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) approval of Dominion Energy’s 176-turbine wind project offshore Virginia.

The groups’ lawsuit argues the approvals did not properly account for possible dangers to the North Atlantic right whale from construction of the project.

“This erroneous biological opinion issued by NMFS is a classic example of abdication of its duty to provide meaningful protection for an endangered species. Playing politics with such an iconic species as the right whale is an unfortunate example of the Biden administration’s allegiance to climate alarmism.”

The lawsuit echoes what has become a frequent argument by conservatives against renewable energy installations. Former President Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee for president in 2024, made similar claims in opposition to offshore wind installations.

However, data on whale deaths — and North Atlantic right whale deaths in particular — show no indication that offshore wind is driving deaths. Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on right whale deaths between 2017 and 2024 showed that vessel strikes caused the most deaths — 14 of 39 total — followed by 13 deaths from unknown causes and nine from entanglement in fishing gear. NOAA data on humpback whale mortality also showed 40 percent were caused by either entanglement or vessel strikes.

NOAA estimates as few as 360 North Atlantic right whales remain alive in the wild. In January, the Biden administration unveiled a strategy to protect the species during the offshore wind buildout process, which included ongoing consultations on avoiding the noise disruptions that have been a major contributor to habitat loss.

The Hill has reached out to NMFS for commentBOEM declined comment.

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