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
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."
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