Metcalf wins whaling round in court fight

"Congressman Jack Metcalf, R-Langley, won a skirmish last week in his long-running battle against whale hunting by the Makah Tribe off the Washington coast.The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Rep. Metcalf, holding that the National Marine Fisheries Service violated environmental laws in a rush to grant the Makah the ability to kill whales.Today's ruling is a huge victory, Metcalf said Friday. I have been saying for years that allowing the Makah tribe to continue to hunt will open the floodgates to whaling worldwide. This ruling will put an immediate stop to the senseless slaughtering of gray whales.The tribe, with support from the federal government, started whaling last year under treaty rights granted in the 19th century. One whale was killed in 1999, but this year the Makah have so far been unsuccessful.In its ruling, the Ninth Circuit Court required that a new environmental assessment be made before whaling is permitted, and that it be done objectively. We have decided that it is appropriate to require a new EA, but to require that it be done under circumstances that ensure an objective evaluation free from the previous taint, the court stated.Metcalf has been a leader in the opposition to renewed whaling since 1996 when he authored a resolution to block the Makah from obtaining a whaling permit."

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