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Alaska sues federal government over beluga whale population's endangered listing

June 10, 2010 |  1:39 pm

Beluga whale

ANCHORAGE — The state of Alaska filed a lawsuit last Friday seeking to overturn the listing of beluga whales in Cook Inlet, home to the Port of Anchorage, as an endangered species.

The lawsuit, filed in Washington, D.C., claims that the federal government overreached and did not follow its own laws two years ago when it placed the white whales on the endangered-species list.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in October 2008 announced the listing for Cook Inlet belugas, one of five populations off the shores of Alaska. NOAA fisheries officials said at the time that Cook Inlet belugas were not recovering despite protections already in place.

The population declined by 50% between 1994 and 1998. State officials say the population has stabilized and is showing signs of recovering.

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-- Dan Joling, Associated Press

Photo: A beluga whale swims in his tank at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Wash., in 2007. Credit: Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

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