Light Wave


Pro-fossil-fuel Trump vows to save the whales from killer windmills

By Jake Beardslee · September 26, 2023

In brief…

  • Trump blamed wind turbines for killing whales during a campaign speech.
  • He criticized proposed boating speed limits meant to protect endangered right whales.
  • Trump pledged to cancel the "Biden speed limit" regulations if reelected.
  • Conservationists say speed limits are needed to protect the roughly 340 remaining right whales.
Donald Trump claimed ocean-based wind turbines are killing whales in large numbers. "Driving them crazy."  Olga Ernst/Wikimedia

Former President Donald Trump blamed wind turbines for killing whales during a campaign speech in South Carolina on Monday.

“Their windmills are causing whales to die in numbers never seen before. Nobody does anything about that,” Trump said appearing at Sportsman Boats, a boat manufacturer outside of Charleston, SC. “The windmills are driving them crazy. They’re driving the whales, I think, a little batty, and they’re washing up on shore at levels never seen before. And they want to stop your boats.”

Trump was criticizing a Biden-proposed National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) rule change that would extend a 10-knot speed limit - currently applicable only to ships longer than 65 feet - to boats between 35 and 65 feet long in areas where NOAA determines right whales to be present. 

Trump called it the “Biden speed limit” and said it would “demolish the charter fishing business, crush boat manufacturers, and desecrate your cherished low-country traditions.”

“That’s why today I’m announcing that when I’m reelected on Day One, I will cancel Biden’s ridiculous speed limit regulations,” Trump declared, drawing cheers from the crowd.

NOAA data, however, show that only one right whale has been killed by a boat strike off the South Carolina coast in the last 15 years. Right whale deaths are primarily caused by entanglements in fishing gear.

With numerous whale deaths along the Eastern Seaboard this year, there is growing concern that wind turbines may indeed be harmful to whales. Trump has frequently expressed opposition to wind power. His comments linking turbines to whale deaths represent a new line of attack.

With only around 340 right whales left, conservationists insist speed limits are needed to protect the endangered species. The proposed expansion of protected areas, however, has faced backlash from the recreational boating and fishing industries.