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Billions of Gallons of Palin Toxic Waste Still Ooze Around Belugas

Great news came for the Cook Inlet beluga whales on Friday. They’re finally, formally, being recognized as in trouble under the Endangered Species Act. Their numbers are at a fraction of their normal levels, and in spite of other, non-ESA programs that attempted to help, the belugas have failed to recover. Their numbers are so low that they are in danger of growing extinct.

The Cook Inlet belugas have been under consideration for Endangered Species Act protection since the late 1990s. So, logically, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has said that any judgment about whether to to give the animals the legal protection required for endangered species would be premature.

Because of her personal judgment that the rapid drop in beluga whale numbers in the Cook Inlet wasn’t such a big deal, Sarah Palin authorized the Big Oil company Chevron to dump of billions of gallons of toxic wastes such as arsenic and lead into the Cook Inlet. Top scientists said before that the Cook Inlet belugas may well go extinct because of such abuse, and now they’re saying it again. Sarah Palin says that she just knows better than those scientists. I’d like to hear her explain that to Katie Couric.

Still, let’s not just blame Sarah Palin for the troubles of the Cook Inlet belugas. Remember that Endangered Species Act protections for the Cook Inlet belugas were first requested in 1999. President Bill Clinton had almost two years to act on that request, but he failed to do so. That ought to serve as a reminder that failure on environmental issues is a bipartisan issue – and that even if Barack Obama is elected President, grassroots activists will need to keep up the pressure to ensure that he does the right thing.

3 comments to Billions of Gallons of Palin Toxic Waste Still Ooze Around Belugas

  • tom

    i’m glad you’re keeping up the news on how our government (both parties) are almost completely ignoring the on-going climate crisis. Just this morning NPR announced that the U.N. group responsible for the official world report on climate change admitted that it’s happening much faster than they predicted (which isn’t surprising since they watered it down to keep the politicians happy). This isn’t going away and it’s steadily getting worse by the month.
    There are people who believe that green energy and green jobs will not only save the planet, but also improve the world’s economies if implemented. Let’s hope our political leaders and Congress act on and expand this issue.

  • tom

    Oh, meanwhile, while we’re just talking about our hopes for some correction of Bush mistakes and bad policy, the Bush administration, in its last months in office is going after all kinds of consumer protective regulation on products and services provided by corporate America. This from Ralph Nader last week (cited from counterpunch):

    The Center for Progressive Reform has in painstaking detail chronicled the attack on the civil Justice system by the Bush Administration. In “The Truth about Torts: Using Agency Preemption to Undercut Consumer Health and Safety” legal scholars William Funk, Sidney Shapiro, David Vladeck and Karen Sokol write: “In recent years, the Bush administration has launched an unprecedented aggressive campaign to persuade the courts to preempt state tort actions…. Widespread preemption of state tort law would significantly undermine, if not eliminate, the rights of individuals to seek redress for injuries caused by irresponsible and dangerous business practices and to hold manufacturers and others accountable for such socially unreasonable conduct.” (See: http://www.progressiveregulation.org).

    And, Les Weisbrod, the President of the American Association for Justice (formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America) hit the nail on the head when he said: “In effect the Bush administration made the safety of Americans secondary to corporate profits.” Mr. Weisbrod added: “Big business lobbyists have been on a crusade to destroy state consumer protection laws, and further stack the deck against American consumers.” The American Association for Justice has just published a report titled: “Get Out of Jail Free: A Historical Perspective of How the Bush Administration Helps Corporations Escape Accountability” – this report is available at: http://www.justice.org/getoutofjailfree.

  • Karl Leuba

    Hey, nothing partisan about this comment…but if the DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED government is going to do ANYTHING it has to hear from the people who want it done.

    That is how democracies work. Representatives of the People are elected to do the will of the people. This puts a huge burden on the people. We have to tell our representatives what we want them to do.

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