There’s a bit of a rule I’ve discovered covering politics for several years now: When an independent group files a lawsuit against the current presidential administration, it’s usually just to get some attention.
There’s another corollary to this rule: They’ll get that attention, all right, but probably not in the way they intended.
Take the The Center for Biological Diversity, Turtle Island Restoration Network and the Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation. Collectively, the three liberal groups have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration for what might be one of the dumbest reasons we’ve heard yet.
“American Indian and conservation groups have filed a lawsuit accusing the Trump administration of failing to protect humpback whale habitat in the Pacific Ocean, where the famously playful animals are in peril from ship strikes, oil spills and other environmental problems,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday.
Yes, in the court filings in San Francisco on Thursday, the groups said that the law requires that the famously playful animals get their own designated habitat to be famously playful in “within one year of listing the species” as endangered.
Instead, because the Trump administration says it’s looking at expanding offshore drilling opportunities along the West Coast, the humpback whale will be less famously playful (or famously less playful) during their annual migration to the waters off the California coast.
“As cargo ships and crabbing gear slaughter West Coast humpbacks, the Trump administration won’t lift a finger to save these magnificent whales,” Catherine Kilduff, attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, said.
“The federal government needs to protect critical humpback habitat that’s prone to oil spills and dangerously dense with fishing gear and ship traffic,” she added. “These whales need urgent action, not more delays.”
Now, nine of the 14 subspecies of the humpback have been delisted from the 1973 Endangered Species Act. But the Central American subspecies of the “blubbery giants, famous for putting on spectacular displays of leaping and splashing” (can you tell this article elicited more than a few bad laughs on my part?) is lagging behind some of the other subspecies populations.
“The Central American population, which migrates twice annually along the California coast past San Francisco, remained on the endangered list after only 411 animals were counted,” the Chronicle reported.
“Since time immemorial, Chumash people have shared our home waters of the Santa Barbara Channel with humpback whales,” Alicia Cordero, the First Nations program officer for the Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation, told reporters. “They have a deeply respected role in our culture (and) the Chumash people play a strong role in protecting our magnificent relatives as they face increasing threats from ship strikes, entanglement and gas and oil development.”
And don’t forget Humphrey! According to Peter Fimrite — the author of this Chronicle piece which has given me way more entertainment than I thought it would when I clicked on the link — old Humphrey was the whale that made San Franciscans fall in love with cetaceans over 30 years ago.
“Humpbacks have had a special place in Bay Area hearts since Humphrey, a 40-ton humpback, caused pandemonium in 1985 when he swam through the Carquinez Strait, up the Sacramento River and into a creek near Rio Vista,” Fimrite writes. “The Solano County city became the focal point of a whale craze, attracting 10,000 people a day as experts tried desperately to turn around the lost animal.
“Humphrey went back to sea after 25 days, but returned five years later when he got stuck on a mud flat near Candlestick Point.”
I don’t think Humphrey was the brightest whale in the pod, although I’m sure the blubbering giant was famously playful. I’m also not sure what that has to do with the lawsuit, or with offshore drilling, or with anything.
In a world where we have to deal with multifarious threats, these groups are suing because our energy production and security policy may have some effect on humpback whale populations, even though this link isn’t really established.
This is what the left is worried about. And yet, they wonder why their message can’t seem to catch on among so many Americans. The fact that they can’t even make the connection is what truly astounds me.
However, these liberal groups sure did get our attention — just for the wrong reasons.
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