SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


State Submits Polar Bear Comments to US Fish & Wildlife


April 10, 2007

In a letter written to Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin opposed the listing of polar bears as "threatened," while the State of Alaska submitted comments on deadline, compiled into four reports, to U.S. Fish & Wildlife expressing the same concerns.

The State's opposition criticizes the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's analysis in four areas: 1) predictions of sea ice retreat related to climate change models; 2) existing regulatory mechanisms for conservation of polar bears; 3) criteria for listing, status, and trends of polar bears and their prey; and 4) unsubstantiated assumptions to support their petition and status assessment. The State's formal comments to the Service were conveyed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in a detailed letter accompanied by considerable corroborating evidence.

Governor Palin wrote a second letter to Secretary Kempthorne to re-emphasize Alaska's opposition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's proposed listing of the polar bear as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act.

"I am concerned that the determination made by the Service is based on incomplete information," Governor Palin said. "I want Secretary Kempthorne to have all the facts at his disposal before he makes a final decision. The consequences of listing the polar bear will have widespread social and economic impacts without providing any more protection for the bears."

In a phone conversation with Secretary Kempthorne last December, Governor Palin discussed the possibility of launching a joint effort by federal, state, local, and Native governments to collaborate on research and planning for polar bear conservation throughout the circumpolar north. Both concluded such an effort will be important to address the polar bear challenge in a realistic, proactive, and productive fashion. Governor Palin offered Secretary Kempthorne her personal commitment to fully engage the State of Alaska in this joint effort, and to work to ensure its success.

"He assured me of his abiding commitment to work with the state to take actions to conserve polar bears, protect their habitat, and manage sustainable uses," Governor Palin said. "Alaska is home to a healthy population of polar bears. We intend to keep it that way."



Source of News:

Office of the Governor


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Ketchikan, Alaska