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Lawsuit aims to prohibit Indians from whaling off Olympic coast

A House Republican and animal protection advocates sued the government Friday in an effort to prohibit an Indian tribe from Washington state from whaling off the Olympic coast.

The suit in U.S. District Court here against Commerce Secretary William Daley says the whaling planned in or near a national marine sanctuary off the coast of Washington state violates several environmental laws."It is shameful that the United States would endorse a proposal which is not only illegal but which flies in the face of the values, interests and desires of the majority of U.S. citizens who believe that whales should be protected, not persecuted," said Rep. Jack Metcalf, R-Wash., one of the plaintiffs.

The Makah Tribe of Neah Bay, Wash., wants to kill five gray whales a year to re-establish spiritual connections on which their tribal culture is based. They say the hunt is for subsistence and the meat won't be sold.