Kerry Opposes Bush Administration Chukchi Sea Oil and Gas Lease Sale
Senator John Kerry (D-MA), who has twice written to MMS urging the agency to hold off on new oil and gas leases in the Chukchi Sea for 3 years to investigate the threat to polar bears, today criticized the Bush Administration's announcement of a new lease sale to be held on February 6, 2008. With the impending listing of the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, the Administration's decision could well be both tragic and short-sighted.
"It's the height of irresponsibility and short-sightedness for the Bush Administration to schedule lease sales in the Chukchi Sea, which represents critical habitat for polar bears, whales, walrus and threatened wildlife. Even as the Department of the Interior is finalizing its decision to list polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, the Bush Administration thinks it's the right time for another power grab by the big oil and gas companies in the bear's essential habitat," said Senator John Kerry. "Just a few months ago, the government's own scientists told us that polar bears may disappear from the United States and our waters entirely by 2050. We should be protecting their remaining habitat, not auctioning it off to the highest bidders. I could imagine few more tragic illustrations of who calls the shots in this Administration, than the way in which this Administration is willing to set the stage for extinction for polar bear populations."