The U.S. government acknowledged earlier this month that beluga whales are now endangered:
The Bush administration Friday designated a small, isolated population of beluga whales in Alaska's Cook Inlet as endangered, rejecting arguments from Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin that the small, white whales were on their way to recovery.LAT
The National Marine Fisheries Service decided to extend federal protections to these whales near Anchorage after their numbers declined nearly 50% in the 1990s. The whales failed to rebound despite a decade-long program to revive the species.
"In spite of protections already in place, Cook Inlet beluga whales are not recovering," said James W. Balsiger, acting director of the National Marine Fisheries Service.
As you may recall, Palin had previously made an unsuccessful bid to keep polar bears off the endangered species list. Her reasoning in both cases was that placing the polar bears and whales on the endangered species list might hinder off-shore drilling and other gas exploration. Imagine Palin's incredible short-sightedness that causes her to come out against protecting these animals -- in the face of climate change, increased pollution, and a generally degraded environment that threatens to render species extinct -- never to be seen on our planet again -- Palin opts to continue our short-term goals of getting a little more gas to drive our snow machines and SUVs for a few years more.