by Channel 2 News staff
Thursday, January 7, 2010
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday it is extending the public comment period on the proposed designation of critical habitat for Cook Inlet belugas by 30 days.
Alaska's congressional delegation requested and received the extension from NOAA. The comment period will now end March 3.
NOAA announced plans to establish 3,000 square miles in Cook Inlet -- or about one-third -- as critical habitat on Dec. 1. Cook Inlet belugas were listed as endangered in October.
On Dec. 23 Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich and Rep. Don Young sent a letter to NOAA administrator requesting the 30-day extension, noting that a large part of the public comment period came during the holidays.