Murkowski Responds to Designation of Polar Bear Habitat

Today U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) released the following statement on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Alaska Oil and Gas Association v. Jewell. Today’s decision reverses a 2013 decision by the  U.S. District Court for Alaska which set aside the Fish and Wildlife Service’s designation of 187,000-square miles of Alaska’s North Slope as critical habitat for polar bears as unlawful:

“I am enraged by today’s Ninth Circuit decision allowing the Fish and Wildlife Service to designate over 187,000 square miles of land—an area larger than the state of California—as ‘critical habitat’ for polar bears. This never should have happened in the first place. It is an abuse of the well-intentioned Endangered Species Act that will result in serious consequences for Alaska’s already-struggling economy.

“The most up to date research and traditional knowledge indicate that polar bear numbers are strong and healthy across Alaska’s Arctic. It is clear once again that decision makers outside of Alaska are overreaching and do not understand the impact this will have on those who live, work, and raise families in the Arctic.”