HR 8: Opposing the designation by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of 3,016 square miles of upper Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay as critical habitat for beluga whales.
00 HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 8 01 Opposing the designation by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of 02 3,016 square miles of upper Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay as critical habitat for beluga 03 whales. 04 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: 05 WHEREAS the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration designated 3,016 06 square miles of upper Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay as critical habitat for beluga whales; and 07 WHEREAS the designation failed to adequately consider the economic effects a 08 critical habitat designation would have on shipping, oil and gas exploration and production, 09 mining, and all other forms of economic activity in the inlet; and 10 WHEREAS the National Marine Fisheries Service has stated that the additional 11 regulatory oversight will cost only an additional $600,000 over the next decade; and 12 WHEREAS the cost estimate does not factor in the extra costs that existing and future 13 operations may have to pay to meet unnecessary new regulatory burdens; and 14 WHEREAS scientists in the National Marine Fisheries Service have concluded that 15 the primary reason for the population decline was the unsustainable subsistence harvest in the
01 1990s; and 02 WHEREAS a cooperative harvest management plan was put into place in 2000; and 03 WHEREAS scientists predicted signs of recovery of the beluga whale population 04 would take five to seven years after a cooperative harvest management plan was instituted; 05 and 06 WHEREAS, in 2005, the population of beluga whales was 278, and in 2010, the 07 population was 340, which is a four percent increase a year; and 08 WHEREAS there is little evidence that human activity has harmed the beluga whale's 09 environment, migration, or ecology; and 10 WHEREAS there is little evidence that commercial or sport fishing is harming the 11 beluga whale population; and 12 WHEREAS the commercial and sport fishing industries could be gravely threatened 13 by a critical habitat designation because the beluga whale's primary food source is fish; and 14 WHEREAS lost development opportunities because of critical habitat designations 15 could ultimately lead to lost revenue to the State of Alaska and to local governments; and 16 WHEREAS all three members of Alaska's Congressional delegation and Governor 17 Sean Parnell are opposed to the critical habitat designation; and 18 WHEREAS designation of broad areas of municipal, commercial, and industrial 19 interest, without any known or identifiable link between activities in those areas and the 20 conservation status of the Cook Inlet beluga whale, is contrary to the public interest; and 21 WHEREAS the conservation benefits, which are entirely uncertain and speculative, 22 are outweighed by the costs and impediments posed by critical habitat in this instance in most, 23 if not all, of the proposed designation area; 24 BE IT RESOLVED that the House of Representatives opposes the designation by the 25 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of 3,016 square miles of upper Cook Inlet 26 and Kachemak Bay as critical habitat for beluga whales. 27 COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Barack Obama, President of 28 the United States; the Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Vice-President of the United States and 29 President of the U.S. Senate; the Honorable John Boehner, Speaker of the U.S. House of 30 Representatives; the Honorable Gary F. Locke, United States Secretary of Commerce; Dr. 31 Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, United States
01 Department of Commerce; Kaja Brix, Director, Protected Resources Division, Alaska Region, 02 National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; the 03 Honorable Dan Sullivan, Mayor of the Municipality of Anchorage; the Honorable DeLena 04 Johnson, Mayor of the City of Palmer; the Honorable Verne E. Rupright, Mayor of the City of 05 Wasilla; the Honorable Larry DeVilbiss, Mayor of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough; the 06 Honorable James C. Hornaday, Mayor of the City of Homer; the Honorable Pat Porter, Mayor 07 of the City of Kenai; the Honorable Peter A. Micciche, Mayor of the City of Soldotna; the 08 Honorable David R. Carey, Mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough; and the Honorable Lisa 09 Murkowski and the Honorable Mark Begich, U.S. Senators, and the Honorable Don Young, 10 U.S. Representative, members of the Alaska delegation in Congress.