Greenwashing at Work in Wind Energy 

I want to thank Susan and Mark Garman for calling attention to the spread of misinformation regarding offshore wind energy projects. (“The Monster Among Us” Vol. 6, issue 6) Before addressing that matter, however, I need to speak to the fact that the Garmans’ first impulse was to malign and insult hundreds of people in our Central Coast community who have valid concerns and questions regarding the impact of offshore wind energy on our environment, community and economy. Their claim that REACT Alliance was created, and is now controlled by powerful fossil-fuel loving elites “to do their bidding” is laughable, and sad. Maligning the messenger to discredit the message is a lazy, age-old tactic that only serves to squash open dialog and prevent important conversations.  

Unfortunately, it seems that the authors have bought into one type of misinformation, known as “greenwashing,” which paints wind energy companies in the most positive light and attempts to obscure the fact that many wind energy companies ARE in fact fossil fuel companies. For example, let’s look at Norwegian-owned Equinor, one of the three lease holders in the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area. Equinor is partly owned by British Petroleum (BP), which, according to the EPA, was implicated in “the largest spill of oil in the history of marine oil drilling operations” in 2010 when their Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig exploded and released over 400 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico causing one of the worse environmental disasters of our time.  I urge the Garmans to research how BP responded to those harmed by this tragedy to better understand the true nature of the multinational corporation they wish to invite into our community and entrust with our most precious natural resources. 

While in research mode, the authors may also want to investigate how many millions of dollars the Sierra Club, Greenpeace and the other environmental organizations have taken directly from Big Wind, as well as from foundations and philanthropic organizations who are also invested in and profit from wind energy development. Let’s take Audubon for example. In 2023, REACT Alliance board members attended a Congressional hearing in Sacramento on the impacts of offshore wind and heard a presentation given by Garry George, Director of the Clean Energy Initiative for the National Audubon Society. During the presentation, Mr. George admitted to receiving $12.5 million dollars from wind developers for a thermal imaging technology system to survey birds around wind energy installations. Not surprisingly, he concluded from those studies that the birds “will learn to go around wind farms”.  The Morro Bay Wind Energy Area, however, is directly in the Pacific Flyway which has been a migratory path for hundreds of species of birds for millennium. The migration patterns are ingrained in their DNA. 

Coincidently, Gary George was recently promoted to Chairman of the Board for Renewable Energy Wildlife Institute, which is funded by numerous energy corporations, many who profit from offshore wind, including the aforementioned BP as well as Orsted, the biggest name in Offshore Wind development. Orsted is also the largest energy company in Denmark. They were formally known as Danish Oil and Natural Gas.  

Nicole Dorfman

REACT Alliance Board of Directors

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