Tags: scotus | polar bear | habitat

SCOTUS: Polar Bear Habitat Set Aside by 9th Circuit to Remain

Image: SCOTUS: Polar Bear Habitat Set Aside by 9th Circuit to Remain
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By    |   Tuesday, 02 May 2017 07:49 AM

The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to take up a challenge to a 187,000-square-mile polar bear habitat established along the Alaska coast and waters – apparently the last word on what's been called an Obama-era land grab backed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The habitat stretches from the state's border with Canada in the Northeast, along the coast down to Hooper Bay in the West, according to Alaska Public Media, with 96 percent of the critical habitat designation offshore.

Various groups and Alaska state officials had charged that the habitat was too large and that the designation would not help the polar bears there, reported The Hill. The court did not give an explanation for not hearing the case.

Alaska Public Media said the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation and an oil industry trade group also had hoped that the Supreme Court would take up the case.

The Obama administration designated the area in the Alaska Arctic in December 2010, according to the Alaska Dispatch News.

A U.S. district court initially ruled against the habitat established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2013, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the decision last year.

"I am enraged by today's Ninth Circuit decision allowing the Fish and Wildlife Service to designate over 187,000 square miles of land – an area larger than the state of California – as 'critical habitat' for polar bears," U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said last year about the Ninth Circuit court's ruling, per Alaska Native News.

"This never should have happened in the first place. It is an abuse of the well-intentioned Endangered Species Act that will result in serious consequences for Alaska’s already-struggling economy. The most up to date research and traditional knowledge indicate that polar bear numbers are strong and healthy across Alaska's Arctic," said Murkowski.

The Ninth Circuit has come under criticism by President Donald Trump after judges blocked his executive order restricting travel from seven countries, said Time magazine. Because the court covers the largest geographic area, some have called for its breakup.

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The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to take up a challenge to a 187,000-square-mile polar bear habitat established along the Alaska coast and waters – apparently the last word on what's been called an Obama-era land grab backed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
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2017-49-02
Tuesday, 02 May 2017 07:49 AM
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