Group plans to sue federal agency over failure to protect whales
Anchorage Daily News
26 October, 2001
Conservationists on Thursday said they will sue a federal agency for failing to assign critical habitat to two endangered Alaska whales.
The Center for Biological Diversity charges the National Marine
Fisheries Service with failing to act on formal petitions filed last year under the Endangered Species Act.
The petitions asked the fisheries service to designate and revise critical habitat for the stock of bowhead whales that inhabit the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas and for the northern right whale, which the center says is the world's most endangered whale.
"Designating critical habitat will add significant new protection for these whales, and can halt destructive projects that could affect the species' survival," the center said in a written statement.
The notice filed Thursday amounts to a promise to sue the agency within 60 days.
Both whale species are officially listed as endangered, which entitles them to have habitat that is designated critical and to other protections, said the center.
The critical-habitat designation should occur when a species becomes listed as endangered, the center added. But often such federal action is delayed for years, forcing citizens to sue agencies to comply with the law.