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The Canaries of the Sea, granted a Pardon, this time ...

Posted yesterday (2008-10-17 20:56:22 -0500); deserving of a second look. -- GH.

A beluga’s mouth is permanently upturned like a smile. It’s easy to connect with these sociable whales ...

Often called "canaries of the sea," beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) broadcast squeals, trills, chirps and other sounds through their blowholes. ... These vocalizations can be communications between animals. They might also be used to echo-locate, or interpret the sound waves that bounce back to discern what food or obstacles are ahead.

Belugas live in the frigid waters near the Arctic Circle.

Shedd Aquarium

Maybe the times really are changing, because those Belugas just won a Big Victory against none other, than the "Pals of Big Oil" ...

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In these frantic times of non-stop campaigning, our Nation's new "Energy Expert", has lost her bid to secure Off-shore Drilling real estate, for her pals, in her own home state!

And the group putting a halt, to her planned give away of Oil Leases -- none other than, some outstanding government officials, at NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service:

Government declares beluga whale endangered
By H. JOSEF HEBERT – Oct 17, 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government on Friday placed the beluga whales in Alaska's Cook Inlet under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, concluding that a decade-long recovery program has failed to assure their survival.

"In spite of protections already in place, Cook Inlet beluga whales are not recovering," said James Balsiger, acting assistant administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The findings by NOAA's National Marines Fisheries Service conflict with claims by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has questioned scientific evidence that the beluga whale population in the waters near Anchorage continues to decline.

Palin, Republican presidential nominee John McCain's running mate, has strongly objected to the federal government's possible declaration of the whale as endangered.

(Emphasis Added)
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gJx0IzvRt6GWrUBb90Foe4URCGagD93SD0DO0


Hurrah! for government officials who step up and do the Right thing in spite of political pressure, to do otherwise.

Los Angeles Times
Bush administration declares Alaska's Beluga whales endangered
Kenneth R. Weiss – Oct 17, 2008

...
As a practical matter, the new protections mean that new offshore oil drilling, a new bridge and other industrial activities that involve federal dollars or scrutiny will have to show that they will not harm the estimated 375 beluga whales that remain in local waters.
...
Palin was especially concerned, she said, that "an unnecessary federal listing and designation of critical habitat would do serious long-term damage to the vibrant economy of the Cook Inlet area."
...
The Cook Inlet beluga population, one of five populations recognized in U.S. waters, is the most urban. More than half of Alaska's human population lives in Anchorage and surrounding areas, releasing minimally treated municipal sewage and polluted urban runoff into the inlet.

Other potential stresses on the beluga population are offshore oil and gas development, two busy ports with ship traffic, an active salmon gill net fishery and predation from killer whales, federal scientists said.

"We have a dozen oil rigs in the inlet now and municipal waste that gets primary treatment only," Mahoney said. More offshore oil development is under consideration for Cook Inlet, which lies between the Alaska and Kenai peninsulas.

Federal protections came in response to a petition for the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit conservation group, and a lawsuit by five conservation groups last summer over what they called "illegal" delays.

A spokeswoman for the governor said her office will issue a comment on the federal protections later.

(Emphasis Added)
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-beluga18-2008oct18,0,4539370.story


Too often Free Marketeers, in their blind ambition for endless profits, forget that we live on a fragile world, one that we share with many other very social creatures!   If they ever stopped to take into account of the long-term results of their mindless Corporate Quest, would they always be so quick to tap into -- every. last. resource?   (No matter which Canaries they might trample in the process?)

Naturally sociable, belugas often chase or rub against one another. They travel in pods of three to 10 whales. Calves imitate adults to learn life skills.
...
A beluga’s mouth is permanently upturned like a smile. It’s easy to connect with these sociable whales as they glide by in their Oceanarium pool: They might turn a curious gaze your way, crinkle their melons (foreheads) and whistle—or even spit a stream of water!

Shedd Aquarium

Chalk up 1 Whale of a Victory for the Planet --
and a Big 0 for those Pals of Big Oil!

SO Sorry Sarah!!   The planet DOES Matter!

Comments

Action needed re: MMS

It seems one hand gives and the other takes away....

You gotta know that when the nytimes.com gives an editorial.
Seems the powers that be are anxious to tap the oil and gas out there in Utah and other wild and wooly places you and I own. Here's a brief piece from the editiorial:

Last-Minute Mischief

Environmentalists are also suspicious of the Interior Department’s recent proposal to revoke a longstanding if rarely used regulation that gives Congress and the interior secretary emergency powers to protect public lands when commercial development seems to pose immediate environmental dangers.

Dirk Kempthorne, the interior secretary, decided that the rule was unnecessary after Representative Raúl Grijalva of Arizona and about 20 other members of the House Natural Resources Committee ordered him to withdraw about 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon from new uranium mining claims to give officials time to assess potential damage to the air and water.

Arguing that the committee did not have a quorum and that he had other means of guarding against damage, Mr. Kempthorne not only refused to obey the committee’s order but proposed to rescind the departmental rule requiring him to obey it. The public has been given 15 days to comment, after which Mr. Kempthorne will be free to jettison the rule.

New York City

Many years ago, there was a housing judge in NYC. Instead of sending slum lords to jail, he sent them to live in their own slums. Perhaps Mr. Kempthorne should live near a uranium mine for a while. Surely he should have no objection.

...how 'bout ~in~ one?

So that he gets the full benefit of having lived near one for years in about a day and half...?

Intelligence

It is an important and popular fact that things are not always what they seem. For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much - the wheel, New York, wars and so on - while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man - for precisely the same reasons.

--Chapter 23, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe

thanks susie

there does seem to be the need
to assess different kinds of intelligence.

emotional intelligence, for instance

perhaps we need a more "intelligent way"
to gauge progress?

thanks for the interesting reference!

Thanks James!

What beautiful images. And you are soooo right, the planet does matter.

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ePMedia ... get the scoop with us!
If it's true that our species is alone in the universe, then I'd have to say that the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little. ~ George Carlin

thanks roxy

sometimes we got to stop
and make time to enjoy the simple things in life!