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FERC rule to spark energy transmission building nationwide; Rudy Giuliani pleads not guilty to felony charges in AZ election interference case; new digital tool emerges to help MN students with FAFSA woes; WY governor to talk property tax shifts in a TeleTown Hall.

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Israel's Prime Minister calls the new ICC charges unfair. Trump's lawyers found more classified documents in Mar-a-Lago, months after an FBI's search. And a new report finds election deniers are advancing to the fall election.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

OR to decide on added protections for decreasing orca population

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Thursday, February 15, 2024   

Oregon officials are considering providing additional protections to orcas in the region.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will decide on Friday if Southern Resident orcas should be listed as endangered in the state.

Kathleen Callaghy is the Northwest representative for Defenders of Wildlife. She said there is a perception that this population was mainly off the coast of Washington and in the Salish Sea.

"But a couple of years ago the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officially expanded their critical habitat," said Callaghy, "because they found there were some whales who were traveling as far south as Monterrey Bay in California."

Southern Resident orcas are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and in Washington.

However, their numbers have continued to dwindle in recent years, down to about 70.

Callaghy said added protections from Oregon could help the orcas battle their main threats.

"We think that doing this listing will help to trigger interstate and intrastate agency collaboration," said Callaghy, "on addressing their needs as far as salmon abundance, reducing pollutants, and reducing vessel traffic and noise."

Along with an endangered species listing, Callaghy said she hopes the state will also adopt strong guidelines for how to protect these whales.

She said it's especially important to increasing salmon numbers.

"The survival of these species is interlinked," said Callaghy. "When we see Chinook populations go down, it's tightly correlated with losses among the Southern Resident population."



Disclosure: Defenders of Wildlife contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species & Wildlife, Energy Policy, Public Lands/Wilderness. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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