"SAVANNAH, Ga. — Conservation groups filed suit Wednesday against the federal government, saying it has taken too long to act on proposals to expand protections for critically endangered right whales.
The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington says the National Marine Fisheries Service for more than eight years has ignored conservationists’ petitions seeking greater speed limit restrictions on ships along the U.S. East Coast, where the rare whales’ range extends from Maine to Florida.
Scientists say collisions with ships are one of the greatest threats to a species considered dangerously close to extinction. Last year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated the population of North Atlantic right whales has dropped below 370. The previous year’s estimate was 412."