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Donald Trump goes on bizarre tirade about whales, speedboats and windmills

Donald Trump has said that windmills in South Carolina are “driving whales a little batty” and causing the marine mammals to die “in numbers never seen before”.

The former US president said the federal government was trying to “bludgeon” the boating and maritime industry by limiting boat speeds to that of “a slow golf cart”.

Earlier this month the Department of Commerce and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced $82m in funding to help with the conservation of the endangered North Atlantic right whale.

According to the organisation, the species is approaching extinction, with fewer than 350 individuals remaining, and fewer than 70 reproductively active females.

NOAA previously proposed a broadening of the geographical area of its seasonal speed restrictions along the US East Coast and an expansion of the types of vessels required to slow down.

Speaking at a campaign rally in South Carolina on Monday, Mr Trump said that boat owners had “a better chance of being struck by lightning” than hitting a whale with their vessels.

“The Biden administration is right now trying to bludgeon the boating and maritime industry,” he said.

“We were just discussing with the boating companies that create a lot of jobs and are having a hard time… with a speed limit of less than 11 miles per hour.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Summerville, S.C., Monday, Sept. 25, 2023. (AP)
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Summerville, S.C., Monday, Sept. 25, 2023. (AP)

“In other words, like a slow golf cart.”

He continued: “This is supposedly in the name of preventing whale strikes. But you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than hitting a whale with your boat.”

Mr Trump added that there had only been one whale killed by a boat off the coast of South Carolina in 50 years.

“On the other hand their windmills are causing whales to die in numbers never seen before, nobody does anything about that,” he said.

The former U.S. president said windmills were causing whales to die ‘in numbers never seen before’ (Getty Images)
The former U.S. president said windmills were causing whales to die ‘in numbers never seen before’ (Getty Images)

“You wouldn’t see it once a year and now they’re coming up on a weekly basis.

“The windmills are driving them crazy, they’re driving the whales a little batty and now they’re washing up on your shores in numbers never seen before.”

Research from NOAA previously found that since 2017 there have been 115 recorded cases of whale deaths, serious injuries or morbidity - resulting in an Unusual Mortality Event (UME) being declared.

Twelve recorded deaths have been listed as due to vessel strikes (VS), the organisation said.

Mr Trump’s remarks in South Carolina echo remarks made by environmental campaign groups including Clean Ocean Action (COA) and the Save Right Whales Coalition, who claim offshore wind projects are harming local marine life.

COA previously called on the Biden administration to conduct “immediate and transparent” investigations into the number of recent whale deaths as well as a “hard stop to all existing offshore wind industry geotechnical and development activities”.

The wave of dead whales is the ocean sounding the alarm, and we must heed the warning,” said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action.

It comes after two major offshore wind power projects moved forward in New Jersey earlier this month, after announcing a five-year partnership with NOAA to promote the exchange of data and expertise on environmental monitoring for offshore wind projects.