Lawsuit filed against Coast Guard re harm to endangered whales
The Center for Biological Diversity yesterday filed suit in federal court in San Francisco challenging the Coast Guard’s failure to consult, under ESA Section 7, 16 U.S.C. § 1536, with the National Marine Fisheries Service over the effect on endangered whales caused by the Coast Guard’s establishment of California offshore shipping lanes and the regulation of boat traffic therein. The lawsuit comes following the recent deaths of three blue whales, who were killed by collisions with container ships. The gist of the suit is that, because the Coast Guard has discretion as to how to establish and regulate California offshore shipping traffic, the Coast Guard is therefore required under Section 7 to ensure, through consultation with NMFS, that its actions do not jeopardize the continued existence of endangered whales in the area.