Conservation Groups Challenge State’s Beluga Whale Lawsuit

Associated Press

A half-dozen conservation groups are challenging the state’s lawsuit to overturn the listing of beluga whales off Anchorage as endangered. The groups are seeking to uphold the 2008 Environmental Protection Act listing for the few hundred whales in Cook Inlet.

The state filed a lawsuit in June to overturn the listing. The state’s position is that the listing is unnecessary because the population has stabilized. It also is concerned about the listing’s impact on economic development, including expanding the Port of Anchorage. Conservation groups say the belugas need the extra protections the ESA listing brings, and accuse the state of wasting taxpayer money fighting the listing in court instead of helping the whales recover.

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