Environmental Policy News

Oil Lobby Sues Over Arctic Seals’ Threatened Species Listing

In a lawsuit filed 23 December 2014, the Alaska Oil and Gas Association (AOGA) and the American Petroleum Institute (API) asked the court to declare the threatened species listing of the Arctic ringed seal unlawful. A subspecies of the mammal is listed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as threatened, under the Endangered Species Act, per a finding in December 2012 by the National Marine Fisheries Service that the seals were “likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future as a result of the projected effects of climate change on its Arctic habitat.”

AOGA and API are also requesting that the court hold off on any final rule regarding the designation of the ringed seal’s “critical habitat.” In December 2014, NOAA proposed about 350,000 square miles of ocean off Alaska’s north and west coasts as critical habitat for ringed seals, who use sea ice for breeding and shedding.

The lawsuit says, “. . . there is great uncertainty regarding the biological responses of Arctic ringed seals that are likely to follow any physical changes to Arctic habitat or the potential acidification of the oceans.”

For more information, visit www.ktuu.com/news/news/oil-lobby-sues-feds-over-threatened-alaska-ringed-seals/30480388.

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