Wildlife Over Waste

The Rice’s whale is down to 51 animals

Congress should reject a bill that blocks protections for this Gulf of Mexico whale.

NOAA | Public Domain
The Rice's Whale, also known as the Gulf of Mexico Whale

Researchers say there 51 Rice’s whales left. With such a small – some would say miniscule – population, the death of a single Rice’s whale would seriously harm the animal’s recovery. That’s why action is needed, including a rule that would force boats to slow down in areas of the Gulf where the whale congregates. 

But Congress is considering a bill that would block any and all “I brake for whales” rules even before they are final. 

Rep. Clay Higgins of Louisiana has introduced HR 5239, which would “prohibit the issuance of an interim or final rule that establishes a vessel slowdown zone in the Gulf” until it can be proven that such a rule would have “no negative impact” on supply chains. 

On one hand, I get it. Shipping and supply routes across the Gulf and moving products quickly, these things matter. And it would be nice if we could say that slowing down some boats in parts of the Gulf would have zero impact on shipping. But my guess is that’s not the case. A “no negative impact” standard is an impossible benchmark.

So let’s do right by this whale, which is native to the Gulf and doesn’t have populations anywhere else in the world. Once gone, it’s gone.

Let’s choose to protect this magnificent creature that’s on the cusp of extinction, even if doing so slows down some shipping boats. We’d be wise to choose a world in which we’re richer by having more nature, more wild things around us. 

Congress should reject this bill.

See the Campaign

Show More