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Press Release

State Files Lawsuit Challenging the ESA Listing of the Ringed Seal

March 6, 2015

(Anchorage, Alaska) – The State of Alaska filed a lawsuit today challenging the December 2012 decision by the National Marine Fisheries Service (“NMFS”) to list the Arctic ringed seal as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Ringed seals currently enjoy healthy and abundant populations numbering in the millions and are fully protected by existing laws, such as the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Despite this fact, NMFS listed the ringed seal based solely on speculative threats associated with climate change 100 years into the future. This decision is just one of a series of federal actions listing healthy species based on climate threats predicted increasingly farther into the future.

The state had previously joined others in challenging the listing of the bearded seal, which successfully led to the decision to overturn the listing by the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska on July 25, 2014.

“Like the bearded seal, the listing of the ringed seal is unwarranted, and only does harm to Alaskans and our ability to develop our resources,” said Attorney General Craig Richards. “Basing decisions on speculative projections 100 years into the future does not help further the goals of the Endangered Species Act, nor does it comply with the law.”

For more information on the case, contact Assistant Attorney General Brad Meyen at 269-5100.

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