Whale of a lawsuit threatens to swallow up Biden green energy agenda

The groups claim that the Virginia Offshore Wind project would threaten the North Atlantic right whaleA federal lawsuit pits green energy against saving endangered whales, as three conservative groups are suing the Biden administration to stop what they say would be the largest wind energy project in the world. 

The Virginia Offshore Wind project could cause significant harm to the North Atlantic right whale, according to the 61-page complaint in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia filed by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), the Heartland Institute and the National Legal and Policy Center against federal agencies as well as Dominion Energy. 

The lawsuit names the Interior Department, the Commerce Department, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the National Marine Fisheries Service, top officials at those agencies and the Virginia-based energy company Dominion, which plans to start construction of the project on May 1. 

"On one hand, the Biden administration says you have to have renewable energy, but in the process, the windmills have an environmental impact, not only on whales but on birds that get chopped up by the windmills," Paul Kamenar, counsel for the National Legal and Policy Center, told Fox News Digital. "Our position is that it’s a larger issue than the environment, but relying on windmills is also an economic issue that will cost consumers and make energy less reliable."

breaching whale

A humpback whale is seen breaching outside of Sydney Heads at the beginning of whale-watching season in Sydney on June 23, 2011. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)


The lawsuit aims to cause Dominion to halt construction on the project until the ocean management agency develops a new "biological opinion" that covers verifiable protection against potential harm to the North Atlantic right whale. The lawsuit claims the agencies illegally approved Dominion Energy’s offshore wind project by ignoring procedural errors that would subject the endangered whales to grave harm.

The lawsuit has no merit, according to Dominion spokesperson Jeremy Slayton. 

"The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has done an extraordinarily thorough environmental review of the project and carefully considered potential impacts to marine wildlife and the environment," Slayton told Fox News Digital. "The overwhelming consensus of federal agencies and scientific organizations is that offshore wind does not adversely impact marine life. We’ve put in place strong environmental protections for this project, and are confident the North Atlantic right whale will be protected."

Dominion contends it will be staffed with protected species observers to detect and avoid marine mammals and that its vessels will adhere to strict speed restrictions designed to avoid collisions with marine mammals.

Spokespersons for both the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the National Marine Fisheries Service responded to Fox News Digital that they do not comment on pending litigation. 

President Biden speaks with members of the media

President Biden issued an executive order to act on climate change in 2021, and the administration has approved dozens of wind projects along the East Coast. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

placeholderThe plaintiffs note that 55 dead whales have washed ashore in other regions of the Atlantic coast since 2017, adding that experts say only about 350 North Atlantic right whales remain with only 70 females capable of producing newborns.

Heartland Institute President James Taylor said in a public statement, "Playing politics with such an iconic species as the right whale is a truly pathetic example of the Biden administration’s allegiance to climate alarmism."

The litigation asserts that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s "biological opinion" in September 2023 did not evaluate the harm the turbines would cause to the whales. CFACT President Craig Rucker said in a public statement the agency’s analysis "is a textbook violation of the Endangered Species Act."


The Virginia Offshore Wind project will span 25 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, and consists of 176 wind turbines with towers taller than the Washington Monument and turbine blades longer than a football field, according to the plaintiffs.

On Jan. 27, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order to act on climate change, and the administration has approved dozens of wind projects along the East Coast. 

offshore wind project new york

The first operating South Fork Wind farm turbine is seen on Dec. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

The plaintiffs say these whales could be forced to navigate 32 separate federally leased areas from waters in Georgia to Maine. 

The complaint accuses the National Marine Fisheries Service of having a "biological opinion" from September 2023 that only looked at how the wind projects would individually affect the North Atlantic right whale. The plaintiffs say the agency should have done a comprehensive analysis looking at the combined impact of the projects.

"The agencies haven’t taken into account the cumulative effect up and down the coast," said Kamenar of the National Legal and Policy Center.  

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