Senate Republicans urge NOAA to scrap Rice’s whale protections

By Rob Hotakainen | 05/07/2024 06:26 AM EDT

Gulf Coast senators say a plan to create new habitat is based on “limited data and generalizations.”

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.).

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) at the Capitol. He's helping lead a push against new protection for the Rice's whale. Francis Chung/POLITICO

Seven Republican senators want NOAA to drop a plan that would set aside more than 28,000 acres in the Gulf of Mexico as new protected habitat for the endangered Rice’s whale.

The senators — Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy of Louisiana, Roger Wicker and Cindy-Hyde Smith of Mississippi, Tommy Tuberville and Katie Boyd Britt of Alabama, and Ted Cruz of Texas — said they fear the proposal could shut down energy development and cost jobs for Gulf Coast states.

In a May 1 letter, the senators also said that NOAA’s proposed rule was based on “limited data and generalizations.”


“It is unacceptable to impose regulations with significant impacts to coastal communities based on generalizations and poor data,” the senators said in their letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who oversees NOAA, and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who’s in charge of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.