Alaska Sues U.S. Over 'Threatened' Polar Bear Status
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The state of Alaska sued Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne on Monday, seeking to reverse his decision to list polar bears as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
Gov. Sarah Palin and other state officials fear a listing will cripple offshore oil and gas development in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas in Alaska's northern waters, which provide prime habitat for the only polar bears under U.S. jurisdiction.
"We believe that the Service's decision to list the polar bear was not based on the best scientific and commercial data available," Palin said in announcing the lawsuit.
Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity, the lead author of the petition that led to the listing, said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientists addressed skeptics' objections during the listing process. She called the lawsuit "completely ridiculous and a waste of the court's time."