Conservationists and offshore wind power company Deepwater Wind announced an agreement today aimed at better protecting endangered North American right whales.
The Conservation Law Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation and Deepwater Wind have agreed to implement new safeguards for marine mammals – including the iconic right whale – during wind development in areas off the coast of Rhode Island and Massachusetts considered to be whale habitat.
The announcement comes as Deepwater Wind plans a large-scale off-shore wind farm in Rhode Island Sound.
NRDC spokesperson Michael Jasny says there are about 500 right whales left in the Atlantic, and that they are vulnerable to collision with ships, entanglement in nets, and underwater noise and water pollution.
“The agreement we’re announcing today is practical and it will help protect right whales during the important early stages of wind development,” Jasny says. “We believe that they represent a significant commitment on Deepwater’s part to environmental protection and conserving one of the most endangered and magnificent marine mammal species off our coast.”
The Rhode Island Sound project is a 256-square-mile site that, when completed, will have almost 200 wind turbines capable of producing about 1,000 megawatts of electricity. It is designed to serve Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
This story was reported and written by Caroline Losneck.
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