Agency OKs Harm to Polar Bears, Again

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The Fish and Wildlife Service again has authorized the oil and gas industry to continue exploration, development, and production operations in the Beaufort Sea and Alaskan coast, despite its effect on polar bears and Pacific walruses.
     The expected harm to polar bears and Pacific walruses “will have a negligible impact on these species and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of these species for subsistence use by Alaska Natives,” according to the agency.
     The agency cites “the results of 17 years of data on the encounters and interactions” between polar bears, Pacific walruses, and the oil and gas industry; and “recent studies of potential effects of the industry on these species; oil spill risk assessments; potential and documented industry impacts on these species; and current information regarding the natural history and status of polar bears and Pacific walruses.”
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