Alaskans Protect Marine Mammals

     JUNEAU (CN) – The Native Village of Point Hope and environmental groups challenge the Minerals Management Service and National Marine Fisheries Service’s issuance of permits to allow the taking and harassment of thousands of marine mammals during seismic surveys of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.

     The plaintiffs claim the seismic, to be done this year, will violate the National Environmental Policy Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and that the defendants, creatures of the Secretaries of Commerce and the Interior, issued the permits in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.
     They claim the environmental impact studies required for issuance of permits were not completed, and that the NMFS and Secretary of Commerce illegally gave Shell Oil
     Permission to “take” – i.e. kill – and harass “tens of thousands” of animals during surveys, though the Marine Mammal Protection Act limits such harassment to “small numbers” of mammals.
     Plaintiffs are represented by R. Clayton Jernigan with Earthjustice.

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