Big Oil Funds "Environmentalists" to Oppose Offshore Wind Farms
Right-wing and libertarian think tanks funded by the oil industry have reportedly been leading faux-grassroots campaigns to stop offshore wind farms under the guise of environmental activism. Such "astroturf campaigns," as they're referred to by political experts, are created to stir political opposition in a way the oil industry can’t on its own. In the case of wind farms, these campaigns are demanding the shutdown of offshore wind construction out of purported concern for beach tourism and marine life. They are meant to stir up local opposition with organizational names like "Save Our Beach View" and declaring their concern that "leaking oil from turbines" could despoil natural habitats.
Further, the very think tanks funding these "environment groups" against wind farming are the same ones that also pressured the government for expedited approval for offshore drilling -- even though drilling would also impact tourism, pollution, and wildlife.
NRDC: Why We Must Stop Big Oil from Expanding Offshore Drilling, September 20, 2016
Why This Matters
The Biden Administration aims to construct offshore wind farms across America's coasts as part of the clean energy revolution. However, "astroturf campaigns" and the opposition they incite threaten and slow the administration's plans for a renewable future.
For example, Dutch energy company, Ørsted, has pushed construction of a wind farm near the Maryland coast until 2026. This particular project would create enough power to support 40,000 homes.
The American Energy Alliance (AEA) is a major anti-renewable energy advocacy group funded by the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM). In 2019, AEA funded $1.7 million of anti-renewable campaigns.
Offshore wind projects in Massachusetts, North Carolina, Virginia, Maine, and the Great Lakes have also been targeted by campaigns like this.