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Exxon Targeted for Continued Sakhalin Development As Gray Whales Arrive to Feed

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The World Wildlife Fund is working to build public pressure to force Exxon-Mobil to suspend development activities near the critically important summer feeding grounds of the dwindling Western gray whale near the Sakhalin oil and gas fields on Russia’s north Pacific coast. ¬†This spring, other energy companies took to heart the advice of a special science advisory panel to suspend seismic surveys during this year’s grey whale season (July-October), but Exxon continues its activities, which apparently are centered on construction more than exploration at this point. ¬†According to the Sakhalin consortium, noise monitoring takes place via buoys along the edge of the feeding grounds, and activities are suspended when whales are too close. However, the continued decline of this distinct population (now down to 130, with just 25 breeding females), along with apparent avoidance of the area in past years as noted by the science committee, has spurred calls for extreme caution about any noise-making during the feeding season.

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