Conservationists plan to sue federal agency to protect whales

Posted: Friday, October 26, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A conservation group is planning to sue the National Marine Fisheries Service, saying the federal agency failed to assign critical habitat to two endangered Alaska whales.

The Center for Biological Diversity charges the fisheries service with failing to act on formal petitions filed last year under the Endangered Species Act.

The petitions asked the agency to designate and revise critical habitat for bowhead whales that inhabit the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas and for the northern right whale, which the center says is the world's most endangered whale.

The notice filed by the center Thursday amounts to a promise to sue the agency within 60 days.

Both whale species are officially listed as endangered, which entitles them to have habitat that is designated critical and to other protections, said the center.

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