Tuesday, September 16, 2008

On Bridges and Beluga Whales

Posted By on Tue, Sep 16, 2008 at 4:34 PM

click to enlarge 800px-delphinapterus_leucas_in_shallows.jpg


photo credit: Stan Shebs 
In a story that draws startling parallels to Sarah Palin’s ANWR prioritization, The Associated Press reports today that the Alaska governor’s now-infamous but oh-so-polite rejection to Congress was actually in response to a proposal by environmental lobbyists to include the Beluga whale on the federal Endangered Species Act. The Beluga, dubbed a Species of Concern by the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service, has an isolated community living in the Cook and Knik Arm inlets, tiny waterways that run between Anchorage and Wasilla. It happens that inclusion of the whales on the list of protected animals could have scuttled the construction of Don Young’s Way — a “Bridge to Almost-Somewhere,” if you will, and the result of a $600 million earmark requested by Congressman Young and supported by Gov. Palin. John McCain, for his part, called the proposed project “terrifying in its fiscal consequences,” stating declaratively in 2005, “I want no part of this.” (You’re a part of it now, Senator.) In her stump speech, Palin’s trite refusal has become a battle cry, but it’s the original offer that bears repeating. To the protection of her state's most treasured wildlife, she has indeed said thanks, but no thanks. But on her own earmarks and “Drill, baby, drill,” the governor hasn’t blinked.        

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