Groups sue over rules they say could harm belugas in Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Conservation groups are suing a federal agency over rules they say could harm beluga whales and other marine mammals in Alaska’s Cook Inlet.

An attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, which is challenging the rules along with Cook Inletkeeper, says the lawsuit was filed Wednesday against the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The lawsuit seeks to block rules that would allow certain oil and gas operations by Hilcorp Alaska with the potential to injure or disrupt marine life.

The agency has said its analysis indicates the rules will not contribute to or worsen the observed decline of the Cook Inlet beluga whale population.

The lawsuit says the analysis wasn’t as rigorous or comprehensive as it should have been.

An agency spokeswoman says it is policy to not comment on litigation.

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