The Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Investigation Agency, Alaska Wildlife Alliance, and Cook Inletkeeper submitted a petition for rulemaking to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), urging the federal agency to stop issuing permits for oil companies to harm and kill Cook Inlet beluga whales and to initiate associated rulemaking to better protect the endangered cetaceans. Petitioners cite the fact that the Cook Inlet beluga whale population has declined more than 75% since 1970 and scientists estimate there are only 279 individuals remaining. The groups argue that NMFS must act before the population drops to 200 individuals, when it may prove too late to recover the species.