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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 30, 2008 at 4:02 PM

Disappearing Puget Sound orcas

AP Photo / Center for Whale Research, Kelley Balcomb-Bartok

A baby orca is seen swimming between family members of K-pod off the southern coast of San Juan Island June 3.

Save the whales

Editor, The Times:

As recently reported in The Seattle Times, seven resident orcas have disappeared from Puget Sound, almost 10 percent of the total population [“7 orcas, regular visitors to Sound, likely dead,” Times, Nation and World, Oct. 25].

Orcas have been part of this landscape for more than 2 million years, but if this trend continues, they will soon be extinct.

In 2005, the southern resident orcas were designated an endangered species, an important step in stemming their decline. The Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) fought the listing.

As critical as the orcas are to the health, economy and identity of our state, the BIAW sued to remove the “endangered” designation.

The suit was eventually dismissed, but what does this say about the priorities of the BIAW, and the candidate they so strongly back, gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi?

Washington state without orcas is unthinkable for most of us. But to survive, they need swift, effective action to restore salmon, remove toxic pollution and regulate vessels.

Gov. Christine Gregoire’s commitment to cleaning up Puget Sound by 2020 is a strong step in the right direction.

Anyone who cares about orcas and Puget Sound should realize that a vote for Rossi and his backers is a huge step in the wrong direction — a decision the orcas might not survive.

— Donna Sandstrom, Seattle

Comments | More in Environment, Governor's race, Politics

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