The Center for Biological Diversity awarded Alaska Governor Sarah Palin the 2008 Rubber Dodo Award. Governor Palin won the award for fighting the Department of Interior’s designation of the polar bear as a threatened species. The polar bear is threatened by a shrinking habitat due to global warming.
Gov. Palin has repeatedly asserted in public comments and speeches that scientists from Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game identified fatal flaws in computer models used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The federal agency contends that the polar bear is threatened because of a substantial loss in sea ice. Seems the bears’ habitat is melting into the sea, and no ice means no polar bears in the wild.
When challenged to put up or shut up by several environmental groups, Gov. Palin flatly refused to release the alleged state review. Palin then had Alaska file a lawsuit to challenge the federal agency’s determination that the polar bear may become extinct in the future because of a loss of sea ice.
Independent scientists eventually obtained a summary through the federal Freedom of Information Act, revealing that Palin had lied about the position of her state agency scientists. Contrary to the governor’s public statements, Alaskan state mammalogists concurred with the Fish and Wildlife Service determination that Arctic sea ice is melting at an extraordinary rate and threatens the polar bear with extinction. That means in a nutshell the lawsuit filed by Alaska to overturn the Department of Interior’s designation of the polar bear as a threaten species is frivolous and without merit. Further debunking Gov. Palin’s position, the U.S. Geological Survey announced that the 2008 summertime Arctic sea-ice melt was the second greatest on record, nearly matching the extraordinary melt of 2007.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a nonprofit conservation organization with more than 180,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.