Climate change affects every species on Earth. However, one of the most affected is the polar bear. This is why the US Fish and Wildlife Service decided to designate more than 180,000 square miles in Alaska as critical. Now, the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, joined by other local governments and Native corporations, decided to challenge the case won by the federal government.
The Supreme Court Will Not Change Its Ruling
The Supreme Court stated that they are not going to allow a case appeal, as they won’t change their decision. Therefore, the US Fish and Wildlife Service designation will stand without further appeals in spite of the district court’s initial rejection.
At the time, when the federal government’s, attempt to preserve a large chunk of the continent failed, another court panel overturned the decision and allowed the federal agency to designate it an official polar bear habitat. This designation is meant to protect the endangered mammals, as they are losing most of their habitat due to climate change and human activity. As expected, commercial companies and agencies in the area were not pleased to share so much land with the bears.
Even the State of Alaska is Prioritizing Business over Polar Bears
The groups that appealed the decision think the service is overreaching its authority. They also believe that this action is going to have significant economic consequences and see no conservation benefits. Among the groups that appealed the decision, are Arctic Slope Regional Corp., Kuupik Corp., and NANA Regional Corp. In. Even the state of Alaska appealed this case. Despite this strong opposition, the Supreme Court found the polar bear habitat as being more important than businesses and local agencies.
“Polar bears are threatened by projected loss of sea ice habitat due to climate change, not on-the-ground activities in the Arctic,” mentioned the groups that appealed the ruling
The US Fish and Wildlife Service stated that their decision was based on several scientific data and two rounds of public comments. The selected area had essential features which could save the polar bears and make an ideal habitat for them. Now, we’ll just have to wait and see if the companies appeal the ruling again.
What is your opinion about the polar bear habitat case? Do you think that it is going to have a significant impact on the economy?
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