14 May 2008 22:13 [Source: ICIS news]
The Interior Department said it is listing the polar bear as a threatened species, “based on the best available science, which shows that loss of sea ice threatens and will likely continue to threaten polar bear habitat”.
Advocates of increased US domestic energy development - including many in the US Congress - have long sought access to oil and gas reserves in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) on Alaska’s north coast.
The US chemicals industry, which is heavily dependent on natural gas as a feedstock, and the broader manufacturing sector have been appealing to Congress to open ANWR and other US onshore and offshore reserves to development.
Environmentalists have opposed drilling in the refuge on grounds it would disrupt and endanger the wildlife that ANWR was created to protect. Former president Bill Clinton vetoed a congressionally approved ANWR drilling programme in 1995.
Department Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said that the loss of arctic sea ice has reached its lowest level since satellite imaging of the poles began in 1979, and that consequently under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) the polar bear must be designated as threatened.
However, Kempthorne said his decision and an accompanying department rule will seek to protect the polar bear and its environment “while limiting unintended harm to society and the economy of the
Under the ESA, an animal group termed threatened could be elevated to the endangered category, which would require broad restrictions on human activity in and around the animal’s habitat.
Despite the ruling, Kempthorne said the
Because of the Interior Department ruling, anyone seeking energy development or any other facility construction in polar bear habitat will have to obtain a permit from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
($1 = €.65)
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to
For the latest chemical news, data and analysis that directly impacts your business sign up for a free trial to ICIS news - the breaking online news service for the global chemical industry.
Get the facts and analysis behind the headlines from our market leading weekly magazine: sign up to a free trial to ICIS Chemical Business.
|ICIS news FREE TRIAL|
|Get access to breaking chemical news as it happens.|
|ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX)|
|ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX). Download the free tabular data and a chart of the historical index|
Asian Chemical Connections