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DMV still offers specialty whale tail license plates

June 26, 2008 |  3:33 pm


A day after a prominent marine life artist revoked the state's right to use his whale tail art on specialty license plates, state officials assured drivers Wednesday that similar environmental-themed plates would still be available.

Muralist Wyland, who goes by one name, recently announced the state could no longer use his iconic whale tail painting on vehicle license plates after officials snubbed his request to share 20% of plate profits with his conservation foundation.

He had agreed to let the state use the painting of a whale's flukes in what state officials dubbed a "handshake deal," with part of the money generated by sales of the plate supporting the state Coastal Commission.

Although the commission is "moving forward with a new design . . . it is important for California motorists to know that the program will continue in the meantime," said commission Executive Director Peter Douglas in a statement.

Old whale tail plates will not be recalled, orders for new plates will be accepted, and part of the money will still fund environmental protection efforts, Douglas said.

-- Susannah Rosenblatt

Photo: Reed Saxon / Associated Press

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