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Rep. Millett Applauds Parnell Administration for Challenging Beluga ESA Listing

Friday, June 04, 2010, Anchorage, Alaska – Today’s decision by the Parnell Administration to sue the federal government over its decision listing Cook Inlet beluga whales as endangered under the Endangered Species Act was applauded by Representative Charisse Millett, R-Anchorage.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” Millett said. “The number of belugas increased four percent a year from 2005 to 2009. The National Marine Fisheries Service appears to have ignored the facts presented by the state against an endangered listing, so taking the federal government to court is our only chance to reverse a poor decision.”

Millett sponsored House Joint Resolution 40 during the 2010 session. It voiced the legislature’s opposition to declaring 3,000 square miles of Cook Inlet as critical habitat for belugas. The designation will harm economic development across the entire inlet without providing any meaningful protection for the whales. The resolution easily passed both the House and Senate.

While the lawsuit moves the federal courts the State of Alaska waits for the NMFS to issue a decision on the critical habitat designation.

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