From the Department of Interior, “Salazar Retains Conservation Rule for Polar Bears“:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that he will retain a special rule issued in December for protecting the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act, but will closely monitor the implementation of the rule to determine if additional measures are necessary to conserve and recover the polar bear and its habitat. …
“In our judgment, keeping the rule is the best course of action for the polar bear,” said Thomas L. Strickland, assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks. “We will continue to reach out and listen to the public and a wide range of stakeholders as we monitor the rule, and will not hesitate to take additional steps if necessary to protect this iconic species.”
From the Governor’s Office, State of Alaska, “Governor Lauds Secretary Salazar’s Decision“:
This decision will provide for continued monitoring and strong protections for polar bears under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and international treaties. This means that subsistence activities and oil and gas development on the North Slope will not be subject to the consultation requirements of the ESA. Governor Palin and the Alaska congressional delegation argued strongly for retention of the polar bear rule.
The Department of the Interior also announced the continuation of a policy disallowing a link between climate change and decisions made under the ESA. The governor has argued against such a linkage as an inappropriate use of the act.
“This is a clear victory for Alaska,” Governor Palin said. “We all want to preserve and protect the polar bear using the best possible tools, but there is absolutely no need to change the 4(d) rule to accomplish this purpose. I want to thank Secretary Salazar for his careful review of the science and the administrative record that led to this decision.”
The Department of Interior and Secretary Salazar have made several decisions that restricted or delayed development of domestic energy resources, and in doing so discouraged market-based efforts supporting U.S. energy security. It’s good to see some balance coming from the agency.
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