Tribes Sue Coast Guard Over Tanker Traffic’s Risk to Orcas
SEATTLE (AP) — The Tulalip and Suquamish tribes are suing the Coast Guard, alleging a failure to protect endangered orcas from the risk of oil spills associated with tanker traffic in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Tuesday, the tribes argue that the Coast Guard has failed to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service over the impact of the tanker traffic it regulates on the killer whales. The tribes say the risk has increased significantly since the Canadian government approved the expansion of the TransMountain pipeline last November. That decision is expected to increase tanker traffic in the Strait of Juan de Fuca seven-fold.
The Coast Guard did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
The tribes are represented by the environmental law firm Earthjustice. They seek an order requiring the Coast Guard to avoid harm to the whales until the agency consults with the fisheries service.