IT RANKS as the most incredibly selfish act that Energy has yet encountered – the State of Alaska is to sue the US Interior Department at the US District Court in Washington to prevent the listing of the polar bear as a threatened species.
Alaska’s governor, Sarah Palin, said that protecting this endangered species would result in a slowdown in Alaska’s oil & gas developments off the Beaufort and Chukchi Sea coasts.
Palin said, despite drastically dwindling numbers – there are apparently only 22,000 left in the world today – that polar bears do not need such protection. She added that those climate models that predict continued melting of sea ice, the bears’ primary habitat, due to climate change are “unreliable”.
Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne declared the polar bear protected by the Endangered Species Act in May. The Palin bombshell was dropped shortly afterwards. The Worldwide Fund for Nature had been campaigning on behalf of the bears and welcomed the Kempthorne decision of May 14.
“Today’s decision is a tremendous victory for one of the world’s most iconic animals,” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF-US. “The other big winner today is sound science, which has clearly trumped politics, providing polar bears with a new lease on life.”