WASHINGTON (CN) – The state of Alaska has sued U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne in Federal Court, claiming his decision to list polar bears as a threatened species will unnecessarily hinder oil and gas drilling in Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort seas.
Polar bears favor the seas as a prime habitat for feeding, breeding and denning. One-fifth of the species live in the Chukchi Sea.
The state claims Kempthorne’s May 14 decision failed to adequately consider polar bears’ survival through warming periods in the past, adding that the polar bear population as a whole is healthy.
Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity, which led the fight for the polar bear listing, called the lawsuit “completely ridiculous and a waste of the court’s time,” The New York Times reported.