Monday, March 9, 2009

Cook Inlet Beluga Whales: Palin's latest target

While Alaska governor Sarah Palin generated a lot of interest during the presidential campaign, she also came under fire from conservationists due to her anti-conservation views regarding polar bears (opposed to a possible endangered species status) and timber wolves (approves aerial hunting by helicopter).

Seems she has not re-thought any of her views as she has taken a position against the pending endangered species listing of the Beluga Whales in Alaska's Cook Inlet. Feeling that enough is already being done, she has, on behalf of the state, filed an intent to sue in 60-days. But not every conservative supports her position. "Sarah Palin is a very gifted politician, she obviously has a future and she's going places," says Jim DiPeso, spokesman for Republicans for Environmental Protection. "And she is certainly within her rights to file litigation. But in this case she's on the wrong side of history and the American conservation movement, and of what's prudent and right."

The Cook Inlet is home to an isolated population of beluga whales that are exposed to pollutants from the oil industry - a leftover effect from a grandfather clause when the 1972 Clean Water Act was enacted, allowing the pollution to continue. That population has declined dramatically since the 1980s, from over 1,000 to about 375 now. More than 300 whales perished in one four-year stretch (1994 to 1998) alone, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. wrote an interesting and detailed piece on the entire flap and the Center of Biological Diversity plans to take decisive counter-action. Oddly, the belugas were listed as endangered candidates during the Bush administration. "It's hard to imagine that anyone could be more anti-environmental than Bush, but Palin is Exhibit A," says Brendan Cummings, oceans program director for the Center for Biological Diversity. "Here we had the most anti-environmental administration in U.S. history, and Palin still feels compelled to sue over one of the few environmentally positive things to come out of that administration."

Not hard to see where her intentions and allegiance lies - from the woman who echoed "drill, baby, drill."


Spiritwhaledancer said...

Thanks for doing this blog. I am a marine Naturalist in Washington State. I lived in Alaska for a couple of years and have been keeping my eye on things up there, particularly since Palin came in. I now host a cause for the Cook Inlet Belugas at facebook, and have post on them at my blog, as well. These are amazing Beings of the Sea, doing what we can to ensure their longtime survival is our duty.

RTSea said...

Thanks for your comments. I try to keep my political views rather general so as alienate as little as possible, but Gov. Palin has really painted an environmental target on herself with her views and actions.