ANCHORAGE - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has extended the public comments period for a federal proposal to designate more than 3,000 square miles of Cook Inlet as critical habitat for the area's beluga whale population.
The public can comment until March 3.
NOAA, which listed the Cook Inlet belugas as endangered in 2008, last month proposed listing all of upper Cook Inlet, the coastal areas of western Cook Inlet and most of Kachemak Bay as habitat critical for survival of the whales.
Advocates for the listing say the proposal is warranted.
Opponents say it could cause problems for future growth and development in the area.