Destroying offshore wind farms is top priority for Trump if he returns to presidency

It’s definitely to protect the whales and not the fossil fuel industry

In a rally held on Saturday in Wildwood, New Jersey, former US President Donald Trump promised that his first day back in office would feature the destruction of offshore wind farms.

"We are going to make sure that that ends on day one," the Guardian quotes the embattled politician and alleged billionaire as saying. "I'm going to write it out in an executive order. It's going to end on day one."

Trump has been an opponent of wind power for several years, and has complained about how wind turbines look, accused them of killing "all the birds," and now claims offshore wind farms "kill the whales." According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), though, there's no evidence to suggest that offshore wind turbines have a taste for whale blood.

The former president might have a point with birds and wind turbines in general, as the American Bird Conservancy says between 500K and a million birds or so are killed every year by turbines, based on limited data. That said, the group suggests making wind energy more bird-friendly rather than dismantling the whole industry.

An executive order that orders the shutdown of all offshore wind farms is unlikely to succeed legally. Executive orders aren't a license for presidents to rule by decree, especially not in areas that are owned by states, which are permitted to have sovereignty over seas 12 nautical miles (13.8 mi or 22.2 km) out from the coast according to the NOAA. Not all offshore wind farms are within that 12 nautical mile limit, but many are, such as Rhode Island's Block Island farm.

Even for wind farms that are completely under the jurisdiction of the federal government, such an executive order would probably result in a court case.

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The wind energy industry isn't insubstantial. Power think tank Ember Climate estimates that in 2023, 7.8 percent of global energy was made from wind, beating out solar at 4.6 percent (though, solar is expected to take the lead in the near future). Today, almost all wind energy is derived from onshore farms, but the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates offshore wind will make up roughly a fifth of all wind power by 2028.

On a similar note, Trump also said he would scrap Biden's electric vehicle tax credits and that he would put 200 percent tariffs on car imports. This comes after the Biden administration threatened to raise those tarrifs to 100 percent – and then followed through and then some.

"I just imposed a series of tariffs on goods made in China," the President said. "25 percent on steel and aluminum, 50 percent on semiconductors, 100 percent on EVs, and 50 percent on solar panels.

"China is determined to dominate these industries. I'm determined to ensure America leads the world in them."

Whether or not Trump is elected again or actually issues such an executive order, simply the act of opening his mouth about it could chill some future investments into offshore wind (or even wind in general) in the short term. After all, it's not usually seen as a great use of time and money to build something that could be destroyed in less than a year. ®

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