Whale of a plan, Dubya!

Environmental groups are bristling over a consideration of oil and gas leases in a region that provides critical habitat to the North Pacific right whale—the most endangered species of whale on the planet.

Last week, the Bush administration proposed allowing energy development in a 5.6-million-acre region of the Bering Sea, off the coast of Alaska. More than half the area reportedly is crucial to the recovery of the whales, reported The Associated Press, and has been protected for nearly two decades.

In addition to facing resistance from the Center for Biological Diversity, including a lawsuit, the federal government will have to deal with commercial fishermen in Bristol Bay, who fear for their livelihoods should the drilling commence.