On March 2, 2023, a deceased whale on Seaside Park beach in New Jersey was documented by a law enforcement officer and captured in a photograph by Wayne Parry of the Associated Press.
By Timothy Cama and Scott Waldman
A television commercial was broadcasted during the recent NBC Republican presidential debate. It was created by an organization known as Building America’s Future, as shown by records from Virginia’s corporate database. A profanity-filled alternative version was also released online but was later removed.
The organization, led by individuals who have supported initiatives such as promoting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ potential presidential bid and aiding Federalist Society co-Chair Leonard Leo’s efforts for a more conservative Supreme Court, did not provide a comment in response to requests.
The advertisements do not clarify the meaning of an “E-ZPass lane for whales,” but the group’s website connects it to the Rice’s whale conservation measures proposed by the Biden administration. The television commercial was broadcast on the same day that a House committee passed a Republican bill to prevent these protections.
The Republicans have adopted a distinct stance in their accusations against the offshore wind industry for harming endangered whales located hundreds of miles away.
Conservative politicians at both the federal and state levels, along with those running for president, have been expressing concerns about the growing number of right whale fatalities along the East Coast. They argue that the emerging offshore wind industry, which has been supported by President Biden and the Democratic party, is responsible for these deaths, even though there is no solid scientific proof to support this claim.
Last month at a campaign rally, Trump stated that while only one whale was struck by a boat in the span of 50 years, hundreds of whales have been pushed onto shore by windmills.
to their advantage
Republican contenders in the state of New Jersey’s legislative races attempted to capitalize on growing opposition towards wind energy following a spate of deceased or dying whales found along the shores.
to benefit themselves in the election
I have not had much luck this month.
Meanwhile, congressional Republicans on increasing
I have attempted to address the issue of rising. on offshore wind in the Atlantic, including by demanding research into potential harms to whales. And last month, after the demise of a major wind project off the coast of New Jersey, Trump congratulated Rep. Jeff Van Drew
(R-N.J.), a prominent member of Congress advocating for a connection between offshore wind turbines and whale fatalities.
On his social media platform, Truth Social, Trump celebrated the news of the whales’ deaths as a result of the wind energy industry, saying, “Jeff, you did a great job.”
A train wreck that is moving at a moderate pace.
Environmentalists argue that the Republican Party’s actions are counterproductive. The presence of oil and gas drilling ships make up a significant portion of the Gulf of Mexico’s traffic, therefore limiting traffic and reducing speeds would likely benefit the whale population in the area.
However, the Atlantic offshore wind industry is still in its infancy and there is currently no evidence to support claims of harm to animals in the area.
Steve Mashuda, an attorney from Earthjustice who has been involved in the group’s legal efforts to maintain Rice’s whale protections, mentioned that he knows a whale in the Gulf of Mexico that he would like to introduce to anyone who is truly worried about the impact of energy projects on whales.
Mashuda stated that the focus should be on the Rice’s whale in the Gulf of Mexico, as it is at risk of extinction due to offshore drilling. He described the situation as a slow-moving disaster.
Last week, I was in federal court.
Urging for stricter limitations on drilling in the Gulf to safeguard Rice’s whale from an upcoming oil and gas lease sale by the Interior Department under Biden’s administration.
Attorneys representing the petroleum sector argued that there is insufficient information available on the distribution of the recently discovered species to justify restrictions on its trade.court ruled Tuesday
Opposing Earthjustice and other organizations focused on the environment.
According to Mashuda, both the right whale and Rice’s whale are at risk from various dangers such as fishing, energy exploration, and pollution. However, focusing on the oil and gas industry could significantly improve the situation in the Gulf.
He stated that many of the points being made about right whales are in direct opposition to the points being made by the same individuals regarding Rice’s whale.
According to Hartl, of the Center for Biological Diversity, he is skeptical that the majority of Americans are convinced by the rhetoric, aside from those who are already loyal Republican voters.
He becomes worried when he observes certain Democrats accepting, like Representative.Jared Golden
(D-Maine), who has also teamed up with fellow representatives from Maine to
Opposing policies that favor whales
The lobster fishing sector has expressed opposition towards this.
He expressed worry at the fact that Democrats are also using this kind of language, possibly because it appears to be a simple solution.
Action in Congress
H.R. 6008, which aims to undo the administration’s efforts to protect the species from offshore oil and natural gas drilling.
According to Graves, the proposed administration plan is not related to whales. Instead, it is a means of halting energy production in the Gulf of Mexico, akin to a tool in a tool chest.
The organization responsible for the advertisement, Building America’s Future, does not provide much information about their operations on their website.
Virginia’s records indicate that Chris Jankowski, a Republican strategist and consultant for Leo’s undisclosed fundraising organization, is the current president. Jankowski also serves as the executive director for the Never Back Down super PAC, which supports DeSantis’ potential 2024 presidential campaign.
The records indicate that Katherine Neal, the vice president of the consultancy firm P2 Pathway Public Affairs, serves as the group’s deputy executive director. The consultancy firm was founded by Phil Cox, a senior adviser to DeSantis.
Jankowski, Leo, Neal, Cox, and Never Back Down did not reply to comment requests. DeSantis’ office also did not respond.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Rice’s whale is one of the most critically endangered species on Earth. It is estimated that there are only around 50 individuals left.
These can be located in the northeast part of the Gulf of Mexico, at depths ranging from 100 to 400 meters in the De Soto Canyon area near the Florida Panhandle.
It was only in 2021 that they were recognized as a separate species.
According to the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, the whales in the Gulf of Mexico are facing threats such as collisions with vessels, disruptive noise from seismic airguns and other oil and gas-related activities, military training, vessel noise, getting caught in fishing gear and aquaculture equipment, marine debris, and contamination from agricultural runoff and oil spills.
The whale population has been greatly affected by the oil industry, with an estimated 20% dying as a result of the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010.
According to Erik Milito, the president of the National Ocean Industries Association, the recently implemented protections may impact various forms of offshore energy, such as wind turbines, oil, and natural gas. This organization advocates for the interests of offshore energy companies.
He stated that the oil and gas industry will be greatly affected in terms of their ability to strategize, build, and manage offshore production facilities, as well as conduct exploration efforts for finding oil and gas.
Republicans are raising concerns about safeguards for the Rice’s whale and calling for an examination of the impact of the offshore wind industry on the right whale. They are also criticizing the administration’s efforts to protect other species in the Atlantic, including implementing speed limits for recreational boaters and limiting the types of nets used by commercial fishermen.
During the discussion of the legislation proposed by Representative Graves, the Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee was present.Bruce Westerman
The representative from Arkansas, (R-Ark.), acknowledged the unequal treatment of various whale species. However, he placed blame on the Democrats.
“There appears to be a significant problem with whales in our country that has been overlooked, as the attention has suddenly shifted to Rice’s whales in the Gulf. As far as I know, there have been no recent reports of a washed-up whale on the beach,” he stated.
“I am aware that a large number of whales on the Atlantic coast have been found stranded on the shore,” Westerman added.