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Day of action focuses on CT undocumented's healthcare needs; 7 jurors seated in first Trump criminal trial; ND looks to ease 'upskill' obstacles for former college students; Black Maternal Health Week ends, health disparities persist.

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Seven jury members were seated in Trump's hush money case. House Speaker Johnson could lose his job over Ukraine aid. And the SCOTUS heard oral arguments in a case that could undo charges for January 6th rioters.

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Fears grow that low-income folks living in USDA housing could be forced out, North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues, and small towns are eligible for grants to boost civic participation..

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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