Review planned for humpback whales
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has launched a review of whether it should take North Pacific humpback whales off the endangered species list. NOAA Fisheries is responding to a petition filed by a group of Hawaii fishermen saying the whale should no longer be classified as endangered because its population has steadily grown since the international community banned commercial whaling nearly 50 years ago. There are more than 21,000 humpback whales in the North Pacific, compared with about 1,400 in the mid 1960s. The fishermen don't want whaling to resume and aren't seeking permission to hunt the whales, but want to maintain a balance with other species, they said.
Foie gras ban in Calif. stays intact
A federal appeals court ruled Friday that California can keep in place its ban on the sale of foie gras. In doing so, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco signaled that a lawsuit filed by foie gras producers seeking to invalidate the California law would fail. The appeals court said the producers of the delicacy — the fatty liver of a force-fed goose or duck — "failed to raise a serious question that they are likely to succeed" with the lawsuit.
White House visitor logs are off-limits
A federal appeals court ruled Friday that White House visitor logs for the president and most of his staff are not public information subject to disclosure requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. The 3-0 decision would keep the visitor records confidential for up to 12 years after President Barack Obama leaves office. Judicial Watch, a conservative-oriented watchdog group that sued in an effort to get the records, said it is considering an appeal. Disclosure battles over White House visitor logs have been a staple of both Democratic and Republican administrations.