Governor Lauds Secretary Salazar's Decision
Governor Sarah Palin was pleased to learn that U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has decided not to change the existing Section 4(d) rule regulations concerning the protection of polar bears under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
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."