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Rep. Young Comments On Critical Habitat Designation

Washington, DC - Alaskan Congressman Don Young issued the following statement this afternoon regarding NOAA's Fisheries Service announcement that it is designating two areas of Alaska's Cook Inlet as critical habitat for the endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale, but will exclude the Port of Anchorage and military installations:

"While I am pleased that NOAA recognized the importance of the Port of Anchorage and the Eagle River Flats Range, the decision to list the whales as endangered will only serve to endanger Alaska and its economy.  This designation comes only a few days after lease sales in the Cook Inlet were announced, and will now inevitably be used to shutdown production in that area.  These designations have become purely political and an excuse to shut down production, and are no longer strictly the conservation tool they were originally meant to be.  

"In recent years National Marine Fisheries Service announced  the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale population to not only be stable but to have increased slightly from previous years.  This designation has not been based on credible science and is yet another example of the egregious misuse of the Endangered Species Act."

For a copy of the letter Congressman Young sent NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco regarding this designation, click here.

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