The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a challenge to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to designate 187,000 square miles of Alaska’s coast and waters a critical habitat for the threatened polar bear.
Oil and gas trade associations, several Alaska Native corporations and villages, and the state of Alaska claimed the habitat designation was unjustifiably large. They also claimed the designation would do nothing to help conserve the polar bear.
“Polar bears are threatened by projected loss of sea ice habitat due to climate change, not on-the-ground activities in the Arctic,” the groups wrote in their petition to the court. “Polar bears and their habitat are already properly managed under the [Marine Mammal Protection Act].”
The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case leaves in place a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling upholding the designation.