SAN FRANCISCO - A federal appeals court today overturned the ruling that allowed Makah Indians to resume whaling, saying that the environmental impacts had not been adequately considered.
The decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstates a lawsuit brought by Rep. Jack Metcalf, R-Wash., seeking to block the hunt. The case now goes back to federal court in Tacoma, Wash., for additional proceedings, including a new environmental assessment to be done by the federal government.
The Makah had hunted whales for generations until the 1920s, which commercial whaling decimated the whale population. But the tribe moved to resume the hunt after gray whales were removed from the Endangered Species List in 1994.
The Makah, claiming whaling rights under an 1855 treaty, hunted and killed a gray whale in 1999.
(more will be coming on AKWIRE)