American Indian and conservation groups have filed a lawsuit against President TrumpDonald TrumpJulian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy Overnight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Five takeaways from Arizona's audit results MORE for failing to protect humpback whale habitats in the Pacific Ocean.
The suit, filed Thursday in a San Francisco federal court, alleges that Trump's National Marine Fisheries Service failed to designate critical habitat for humpback whale populations after they were again listed as an endangered and threatened species in 2016, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The Center for Biological Diversity, Turtle Island Restoration Network and the Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation said the Trump administration is endangering the animals by expanding offshore oil and gas drilling, putting the animals at risk for ship strike and oil spills.
“As cargo ships and crabbing gear slaughter West Coast humpbacks, the Trump administration won’t lift a finger to save these magnificent whales,” said Catherine Kilduff, an attorney for the Center of Biological Diversity. “The federal government needs to protect critical humpback habitat that’s prone to oil spills and dangerously dense with fishing gear and ship traffic. These whales need urgent action, not more delays.”
As many as 54 humpback whales were found tangled in commercial fishing gear off the West Coast in 2016, the Center of Biological Diversity said.
The groups attacked the Trump administration’s January decision to expand offshore oil and gas drilling despite risks, such as the 2015 Refugio oil spill that pumped more than 21,000 gallons of crude oil into the Pacific.
“Since time immemorial, Chumash people have shared our home waters of the Santa Barbara Channel with humpback whales,” said Alicia Cordero, First Nations program officer for the Wishtoyo Foundation. “They have a deeply respected role in our culture, guiding and protecting our maritime people as we navigate through the channel. In reciprocity, the Chumash people play a strong role in protecting our magnificent relatives as they face increasing threats from ship strikes, entanglement, and gas and oil development.”
Humpback whales migrate along the coast of California twice a year from Central America and there were listed endangered as only 411 animal remain, the Chronicle reported.