On Thin Ice: The Future of the Polar Bear
3.11.08 -- Updated Markey Polar Bear Legislation
Select Committee Examines Global Warming's Threat to Polar Bears; Bush Administration Response
Chairman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming questioned members of the Bush Administration regarding the delay of a decision to list polar bears under the Endangered Species Act until after a controversial lease sale for oil drilling off of Alaska. The hearing also featured experts on wildlife protection and oil drilling.
Earlier this month (Jan 2008), the Interior Department announced it would miss the statutory deadline to reach a decision on listing the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), saying it would take up to a month more to reach the decision. That would put the listing decision one day after the sale of oil drilling rights in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea, scheduled for February 6th. The Chukchi Sea is a sensitive polar bear habitat.
In the most thorough study to date, the Interior Department determined that under current trends, disappearing sea ice would result in a two-thirds drop in the world population of polar bears resulting in the disappearance of polar bears from Alaska by 2050.
WHAT: “On Thin Ice: The Future of the Polar Bear,” Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming hearing
WHERE: 2175 Rayburn House Office Building and on the web at globalwarming.house.gov
WHEN: 9:30 AM, Thursday, January 17, 2008
Opening Statement: Chairman Edward J. Markey (watch here)
Mr. Dale Hall, Director, Fish and Wildlife Service
Mr. Randall Luthi, Director, Minerals Management Service
Dr. Steven Amstrup, Polar Bear Team Leader, U.S. Geological Survey (No written testimony)
Ms. Jamie Rappaport Clark, Executive Vice President, Defenders of Wildlife
Ms. Deborah Williams, President, Alaska Conservation Solutions
Ms. Kassie Siegel, Director, Climate, Air and Energy Program, Center for Biological Diversity
In responce to the hearing, Chairman Markey (D-Mass.) introduced legislation that would compel the Bush administration to protect the polar bear before it allows widespread oil drilling in Alaska. To read the legislation and press release, please CLICK HERE.
Right click to enlarge. Graphic from Alaska Center for the Environment
VIDEO from the Hearing:
Full video archive of hearing.
Chairman Markey question
Rep. Inslee question
PHOTOs from the Hearing
(right click on images to enlarge)
Left to right: John Goll, Randall Luthi, Dale Hall, Steven Amstrup
Left to right: Kassie Siegel, Deborah Williams, Jamie Rappaport
Chairman Markey addresses the hearing
A group of children were part of the crowd eager to learn about the Polar Bears
A stuffed animal polar bear joins the press table.
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