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Soundings Archive

FWS Publishes Final Polar Bear Rules for Oil & Gas Exploration in the Chukchi
On June 11, 2008, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published final rules governing oil and gas exploration in the Chukchi Sea, off the western coast of Alaska. These rules are promulgated under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. They authorize the nonlethal, incidental, unintentional take of small numbers of Pacific walruses and polar bears during oil and gas industry seismic and other exploration activities in the Chukchi. The rules will be effective for 5 years from date of issuance.

The rules include: permissible methods of nonlethal taking; measures to ensure that Industry activities will have the least practicable adverse impact on the species and their habitat, and on the availability of these species for subsistence uses; and requirements for monitoring and reporting. The FWS will issue Letters of Authorization (LOAs) to individual applicants who want to conduct activities under the rules.

These rules are very controversial and may end up in court.

  • Click here to read FWS rules

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