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Press Release

State Joins ASRC and Others Seeking Supreme Court Review of Critical Habitat Designation

November 4, 2016

(Anchorage, AK) – The State of Alaska today joined in filing a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court in response to a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in February of this year. That ruling reinstated approximately 187,000 square miles of Alaska coastline and adjacent waters designated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as critical habitat for polar bears, an area larger than the state of California.

Other petitioners include Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC), the North Slope Borough, the Iñupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation, Kuukpik Corporation, Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation, Olgoonik Corporation, Inc., Tikigaq Corporation, the Bering Straits Native Corporation, NANA Regional Corporation and Calista Corporation.

“A critical habitat designation covering over 187,000 square miles would greatly impact our entire state,” said Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth. “All we ask is that the designation be legally justified through scientific evidence showing a connection between the habitat and the protection of the bears. That didn’t happen for all the areas designated in this case. The result is great economic impacts without evidence that it is actually necessary to protect the species.”

The State along with the other petitioners had previously challenged and overturned the designation through a district court decision in 2013 based on many errors associated with the critical habitat designation. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court. Petitioners are now asking the United States Supreme Court to weigh in on the case.

CONTACT: Assistant Attorney General Brad Meyen at brad.meyen@alaska.gov or (907) 269-5100.

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