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Back in 2008 the polar bear was listed as a threatened species and given legal protection under the Endangered Species Act due to the loss of its sea-ice habitat.
To try and help the survival of the polar bear the US Fish and Wildlife Service designated more than 187,000 square miles of the Arctic coastline for protection as critical habitat for the polar bear.
Outraged that such a large area of resource-rich land be put off limits from development, the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, and the state of Alaska, filed legal cases against the US government in 2011, claiming the area was excessive and unnecessary.
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At the end of last week a US court in Alaska overturned the federal decision that was meant to protect the polar bear and its habitat, ruling that whilst the protection rule was “valid in many respects,” not all the official steps were followed before adopting the regulation. The judge stated that the US Fish and Wildlife Service may return and file the rule again, once they had dealt with the “procedural deficiencies.”
U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline commented that, “there is no question that the purpose behind the service's designation is admirable, for it is important to protect the polar bear, but such protection must be done correctly.”
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com