The Center for Biological Diversity sent the required notice to the Interior Department that it intends to sue the federal government for what conservationists consider a failure to protect critical habitat for polar bears from harmful oil and gas development.
This news comes after the Obama Administration designated more than 187,000 square miles in Alaska as polar bear critical habitat, but has also reaffirmed a Bush-era plan that authorized oil leasing in the newly designated polar bear critical habitat and are considering a proposal to allow Shell Oil to drill next summer in polar bear critical habitat in the Beaufort Sea.
Boo! We thought you were cool, Obama!
We have to admit though, it seems the Obama administration was damned if they did and damned if they didn't.
After designating the 187,000 square mile area of Alaska as critical habitat, the state of Alaska decided to sue!
Republican Gov. Sean Parnell insists the habitat designation will delay jobs and increase costs of resource development projects important to the state.
The wildlife group's Alaska representative, attorney Rebecca Noblin, seems to believe the biggest threat to the polar bears survival is the possibility of a massive oil spill, saying:
"Given that it is impossible to clean up an oil spill in the icy waters of the Arctic, if Secretary Salazar ultimately approves drilling in polar bear critical habitat he will have demonstrated that all his promises of reform following the Gulf disaster ultimately amount to nothing."
She's got a point. We'd like to think our government LEARNS from its mistakes.
We're anxious to see how this legal drama plays out, especially considering the future of the polar bears may ride on the results.
The Center for Biological Diversity has already successfully sued the federal government and achieved the 187,000 square mile critical habitat for the animals as a result.
[Image via AP Images.]
Tags: alaska, arctic, conservation, government, oil spill, protect