SEAWOLF NEWS BRIEF, January 31, 2006

Wise-Use Radicals Challenge Scientifically-Sound Ruling

Washington State's Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) has announced plans to sue the National Marine Fisheries Service over their Nov. 2005 ruling that Southern resident Orca Whales will be listed on the federal Endangered Species list. This is the same pro-property right group of conservative radicals that defied efforts to protect old-growth forests and habitat for endangered species like the Chinook salmon and Spotted owl.

SeaWolf believes that the BIAW, long known for their anti-environmental positions and efforts to weaken laws protecting school and parks funding, as well as weakening local and county environmental protection laws, is now taking on an issue well beyond their knowledge base and credibility. This group has absolutely no credibility in challenging sound science, and it is doubtful that the heavily funded builder's group will even be able to 'purchase' any scientific support for their ridiculous position that Southern Resident orca whales are not a distinct stock of whale - their main argument against the ESA listing.

There is irrefutable evidence that Southern resident Orcas are a genetically distinct stock, and if they were to become extirpated, the worldwide orca population would lose a significant amount of biodiversity. SeaWolf considers the BIAW's arguments ludicrous. The BIAW is out of its league when dealing with matters related to science.

It should be pointed out that this is the same group who, in their January 2006 newsletter, facetiously called Washington State's most endangered species 'affordable housing.' While affordable housing matters are certainly worthy of attention, they cannot come at the expense of sustainable environmental protection and species preservation. Ironically, while the group poses to be concerned about affordable housing, this is the same group who now supports the transfer of builder's mitigation fees buyer of new home purchases - making 'affordable housing' even less affordable to those who might seek out lower priced, entry level homes. An example of corporate hypocrisy at its finest.

Candidly, most environmental advocates are not concerned about the BIAW's lawsuit, since we feel that any argument posed by the group will fall flat on its face in our courts. There is reason to be cautious, however, since the group traditionally has bought influence in the legislature, using the infamous Abrahamoff technique, and hereby, the issue, and legislative response - will be monitored closely over the coming months.

For more information about this challenge, visit the Seattle P.I.'s story on the item at this link to the Seattle Times.

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