Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | October 2, 2008

Attorney Sanders says Gov. Palin opposes federal protection of polar bears under Endangered Species Act to protect oil lease money from drilling in Chukchi Sea.

Did you understand why Alaska sued the U.S. Department of Interior, seeking to reverse a decision to give polar bears protection under the Endangered Species Act?  It is because oil companies bid $2.66 billion for oil and gas leases in the Chukchi Sea off Northwest Alaska.  Shell Oil accounted for more than three-fourths of the winning bids in Alaska.

The Minerals Management Service received 667 bids for leases covering 2.8 million acres on Alaska’s outer continental shelf. One area attracting a lot of interest from Shell Oil was Alaska’s Chukchi Sea, which is home to one of only two U.S. polar bear populations.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a part of the Interior Department, listed polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.  Thus, to protect potential oil royalties from the region, Alaska sued to block the federal government from protecting polar bears in the oil rich region under the Endangered Species Act.

Gov. Sarah Palin claims that if the polar bear are protected by the Endangered Species Act, it will cripple offshore oil and gas development.  The American Petroleum Institute and four other business groups also filed suit to reverse the federal government’s listing of the polar bear as a threatened species.

Apparently, Gov. Palin’s decision to challenge the federal agency’s decision to protect the polar bears was not popular with the state’s marine mammal scientists.  Like federal scientists, the state scientists concluded that polar bears are threatened with extinction because of a shrinking ice cap.  Thus, to protect oil exploration in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea, Sarah Palin flatly opposes federal protections for polar bears under the Endangered Species Act. 

It is now up to the federal courts to decide whether Sarah Palin or the polar bear wins this battle over the Chukchi Sea. 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: