Alaska Sues Against Protecting Beluga Whales

Reader Contribution by Jessie Fetterling

Governor Sarah Palin announced Wednesday that the State of Alaska intends to sue the federal government because of its decision to place beluga whales from Anchorage’s Cook Inlet on the Endangered Species List. Gov. Palin opposes the decision because of the possible effects that it may have on development projects in Anchorage, including oil and gas developments and the expansion of the city’s port. According to the State of Alaska, the government’s decision does not follow the law because it ignores the state’s already-made efforts to protect the whales.

Denby Lloyd, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, claims that the state has worked to protect the beluga whale population, and that it is stable and beginning to increase. However, scientists say that the number of beluga whales in this area has declined from thousands to just around 375. And they believe that the whales will become extinct if nothing more is done.

Earlier this year, Gov. Palin already filed a lawsuit against the federal government to remove the endangered polar bear from the list for similar reasoning. While the State of Alaska claims that it is doing everything to protect these animals, their intent to continue development contradicts that. No matter what the governor may think, drilling for oil is not always the answer.