The Apache Alaska Corporation has launched a deafening airgun assault as it explores for oil and gas in Cook Inlet, Alaska--home to a struggling population of 284 endangered beluga whales.
At close range, the intense noise from airguns can deafen, injure and even kill whales. The blasts will repeat every 10-12 seconds--and could go on for years. Tell the Obama Administration to withdraw its approval for this devastating onslaught before it pushes the last Cook Inlet belugas one tragic step closer to extinction.
Subject line: Don't let Apache Alaska Corporation conduct seismic surveys in Cook Inlet
I was dismayed to learn that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), which is under your authority, has issued a permit authorizing the Apache Alaska Corporation to "take" 30 beluga whales during the first year of its oil and gas exploration in Cook Inlet, Alaska.
Cook Inlet beluga whales are critically endangered. By your administration's own count, their numbers have dwindled from 1,300 to a mere 284. NMFS listed the population as endangered in 2008 and designated over 3,000 square miles of marine habitat in Cook Inlet as critical for the species' survival in 2011.
I am shocked that the Obama Administration would authorize Apache Alaska to harass and injure these same endangered whales you are charged with protecting.
Apache is using airguns that produce some of the loudest underwater sounds known to humankind. Impacts from these surveys can disrupt, injure and even kill marine mammals, which depend on sound to survive. We cannot afford to lose even one more beluga to industrial activity.
I urge you to direct NMFS to withdraw Apache's permit and instead develop and implement a recovery plan as required by the Endangered Species Act to ensure the conservation and recovery of Cook Inlet beluga whales. Please act to protect the interests of endangered belugas, not the interests of oil companies. Thank you.
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