The state has begun a three-pronged response to what Governor Parnell calls the improper use of the Endangered Species Act to shut resource development. He says that won’t happen on his watch.
In a press conference late yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon he said the state has filed a motion in Federal Court against the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service’s actions to set aside the “threatened” listing of the polar bear under the act.
The listing was outside the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, it was based on uncertain climate change predictions about the future, and it involves a species –the polar bear – with a population that is at an all-time historical high.
The rest of Parnell’s plan calls for supporting – in court — the federal decision not to list the ribbon seal as threatened. That decision has been challenged. Also, the governor plans to work with agencies and communities to support conservation measures that he says make sense for Alaska. Parnell says the state has an excellent track record of resource development while protecting wildlife. And he says the strategy announced yesterday will help the economy and provide jobs.
It will be one that also balances wildlife interests that are important to our everyday life here as well. First of all, I will support resource development and the jobs that are created for our communities by taking strong action in the courts to advocate for Alaska.
The White House earlier this week approved the Fish and Wildlife Service’s plan for habitat protection for the polar bear. And the Interior Department is prepared to take the next regulatory step as soon as this morning (Thursday).