On June 15, 2023, Congressman Chris Smith issued a press release touting the acceptance by the General Accountability Office [GAO], of a request by the House Natural Resources Committee to investigate a wide range of issues related to the development of offshore wind. The Committee letter, signed by Chairman Bruce Westerman, was submitted on May 15 th , 2023, almost a year ago. I bring this up because the average time-length of most GAO investigations is three months. Which begs the question; Is the Biden administration “slow-walking” the GAO investigation? Slow-walking is the act of purposefully delaying action by stalling, stonewalling, making excuses of how hard it is to do, and other whiney efforts at delaying an investigation until it fails because it is too late. It is the bureaucrat’s favorite weapon of choice when forced to disclose vital information, that their politician benefactors don’t want exposed.

The General Accountability Office is the investigative arm of Congress, similar to Internal Affairs investigators, and is known as the Congressional Watchdog. It is considered the most impartial branch of the Federal Government and they produce about nine hundred reports annually, covering every aspect of government, especially the operation of various government agencies and departments. The GAO is led by the Comptroller General of the U.S. Gene Dodaro, who was officially appointed by President Obama in 2010 to a fifteen-year non-renewable term. Before that he was the Acting Comptroller General, being appointed by President George Bush in 2008, he enjoys non-partisan support among both parties. So why has this offshore wind investigation taken so long? These are professional investigators and they have dealt with a number of Wind farm issues in the past, as recently as their report from 2020 on the need for ignoring the long historied Jones Act so that foreign made vessels can steal American jobs, because the US doesn’t have readily available vessels to do the work.

Perhaps the problem with the investigation was the scope of what was asked of the GAO by the Committee, with Congressman Smith joined by Congressman Jeff Van Drew, and Congressman Andy Harris of Maryland, all of whom represent coastal districts. The investigation was initiated because of the unusual number of marine mammals strandings that were taking place all along the east coast starting in December 2022 that enraged the average shore citizen and enlightened them to the carnage that was just beginning. The most important concern of the general public was; is the offshore wind survey work responsible for the marine mammal massacre taking place? NOAA/NMFS was denying any connection of the strandings to the research, and BOEM has never cared a bit about the matter. The connection of the strandings and the proximity of research vessels using high powered sonar and seismic devises in the vicinity of them lead to obvious conclusions. But they are not scientifically proven, so NOAA/NMFS ignores them, along with all the protected species laws designed to save marine mammals from extinction. With the accumulated evidence of a growing pile of bodies, one would think that evidence enough to temporarily close all research work involving sonar and seismic devises exists. But the investigation continues, and the GAO stalls, claiming they keep getting more information and Whine, Whine, Whine.

There are so many issues addressed in the request that it is designed to take a long time, many of them should be addressed in the individual environmental impact statements, which have so far been wholly inadequate, especially from BOEM. The other important issues that have been asked to be investigated are, Air and Maritime safety, including the operation of radar systems, impacts to air traffic, including military training missions off the Atlantic coast, commercial fishing activities, including fisheries-related surveys and associated management plans, fishing access in the outer-continental shelf and economic impacts to the fishing industry. Also, the resiliency of offshore wind infrastructure to hurricanes and other extreme weather events. This could be years of investigations and analysis. In the meantime, the main reason this request was initiated, the abhorrent slaughter of large Whales, continues. If the GAO hasn’t reached a conclusion, or does not at least admit serious doubt about NMFS lies concerning marine mammal deaths and what is causing them, then they are slow-walking the issue. The excuse about having new information to examine is exactly that, an excuse. While all of the other issues that have been requested to be investigated, are important issues, they pale before the
importance of the question regarding what is causing the marine mammal massacre? That answer should be known by now, and it should be released. The other issues, while important, are not as important as stopping the extinction of the largest animals on earth.

The Biden administration has weaponized the Justice Department to persecute its political enemies, it has proven that no bar is too low to sleaze under. So what if the Northern Right Whale goes extinct, we have to save the planet from climate change, otherwise everyone will die. The danger to the future of all marine mammals is clear and if the cause of the deaths is not revealed soon by the GAO, then one by one marine mammal species around the world will be exterminated. The lethal effects of sonar and seismic testing are known, they just have to be officially recognized. The GAO is in the position of officially recognizing that Sonar and seismic are lethal to marine mammals and should be banned from use except in the case of national defense. If the GAO doesn’t immediately release its findings specifically in regard to the lethal effects of offshore wind research and construction, then the House Natural Resources Committee needs to subpoena the heads of NOAA, NMFS, and scientists such as Sean Hayes and make them testify under oath about what they know concerning the Marine mammal massacre. By not demanding an answer to this simple question, the Congressmen are helping slow-walk the issue.

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