Alaska Sues Over Polar Bear Protection

Thomas Schueneman

Can I see a show of hands from anyone who is surprised by this?

Alaska sues over polar bear listing under Endangered Species Act

It is reported today that the state of Alaska plans to sue the federal government in an attempt to block the Department of Interior from listing the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act.

Republican governor Sarah Palin said that the polar bear does not need additional protections and listing the bear as endangered will slow development in the state.

When Department of Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced the decision last week, he made it clear that he didn’t intend on letting it get in the way of oil and gas development, giving a press statement last week fraught with loopholes designed to avoid full enforcement of the law.

That isn’t good enough for the state of Alaska. Attorney General Steven Daugherty insists there is no need to protect a

healthy population (of polar bears) based on uncertain climate models”.

Governor Palin adding that

Climate models that predict continued loss of sea ice, the main habitat of polar bears, during summers are unreliable.

Oh really?

She's either grossly misinformed or intentionally misleading, and both are unbecoming,"

shot back Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity,

Alaska deserves better."

Siegel said it was unconscionable for Palin to ignore overwhelming evidence of global warming's threat to sea ice, the polar bear's habitat.

Even the Bush administration can't deny the reality of global warming. The governor is aligning herself and the state of Alaska with the most discredited, fringe, extreme viewpoints by denying this."

In the meantime, several environmental groups including Siegel’s Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) have started legal action against the Bush administration challenging the “special rules” or “4(d) rule” attached to the Department of Interior’s ruling that reduce the protections normally required of such a listing (think of Bush and his “signing statements” allowing him to ignore laws he doesn’t like).

Perhaps what we need now is Senator Inhofe to trot out his expert – the Marketing Professor

Then again, maybe not.

Sources and Further Reading
Associated Press

Tags: alaska+polar+bear, polar+bear+endangered+species, arctic+sea+ice, polar+bear+population