Trump agrees to protect West Coast whales

Natural Resource News Note,

This week the Trump administration reached a settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity, Turtle Island Restoration Network and the Native American tribal group called the Wishtoyo Foundation. The Trump administration will now designate certain habitat along the Pacific Ocean for endangered humpback whales.

Here is a news release from the Center for Biological Diversity:

The Center for Biological Diversity, Turtle Island Restoration Network and Wishtoyo Foundation today reached a settlement with the Trump administration to protect humpback whale habitat in the Pacific Ocean, where the animals face threats from fisheries, ship strikes and oil spills.

Today’s agreement, filed in federal district court in San Francisco, requires the National Marine Fisheries Service to follow the Endangered Species Act’s requirement to designate critical habitat by June 28, 2019, and finalize those boundaries a year later. Two Pacific Ocean humpback populations were listed as endangered, and a third as threatened, in September 2016.

“Today’s victory means Pacific humpback whales will be safer in their ocean home,” said Catherine Kilduff, a Center attorney. “While delaying these protections, the Trump administration proposed opening the Pacific up to offshore oil drilling and let fishing gear tangle up dozens of humpbacks. This agreement ensures the whales will finally get the protections they need.”


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