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Exciting news for Cook Inlet belugas

June 2013

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) -- Exciting news for Cook Inlet belugas

Dear Friend,



I have good news to share.

A federal judge has ruled in our favor that the Obama Administration violated the law -- three different laws, in fact -- when it authorized the Apache Alaska Corporation to use deafening seismic airguns to search for oil and gas in Cook Inlet, threatening the survival of its last 312 beluga whales.

The ruling is a crucial step forward in our campaign to protect these rare white whales, which are threatened not only by oil and gas companies but by the proposed Pebble Mine as well.

And it's an exciting win for you, too! You have stood with us every step of the way, deluging the Obama Administration with pro-beluga petitions and supporting our battle in federal court.

That court has now stated that the National Marine Fisheries Service gave Apache Alaska a green light by systematically undercounting the toll that seismic airguns would take on belugas.

The explosive noise from seismic airguns can deafen, injure and even kill whales. Apache's sonic blasts will repeat every 10 to 12 seconds -- and could go on for years.

The Fisheries Service predicted that Apache's airguns would harm at least 30 belugas during its first year of operations alone -- a staggering number that the court now says was clearly underestimated.

But make no mistake: while the court's decision is an essential first step in the right direction, this fight is far from over.

The court's ruling backs up our charge that the Obama Administration was too quick to sacrifice whales to Big Oil -- but it does not shut down Apache's operation. To do that we will need to build on this victory by escalating our campaign -- and possibly returning to federal court.

I will be sure to keep you posted as we map out our strategy in the days and weeks ahead. In the meantime, if you would like to ensure that we have the resources we need to keep the pressure on the Obama Administration and Apache Alaska, please make an online contribution today.

And thank you for standing with us in defense of these endangered whales.

Frances Beinecke
Natural Resources Defense Council


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