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October 31, 2011 6:45 AM

Alaska's beluga whales case hurt by loss of coast zone program

Back in February, the Parnell administration told a judge that Cook Inlet beluga whales didn't need the protection of the federal Endangered Species Act because the state was perfectly capable of protecting them itself, in part because of the Alaska Coastal Management Program. But in a notice belatedly filed in the case Friday, the Alaska attorney general's office acknowledged the state had lost that conservation and enforcement tool four months ago.

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