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Soundings Archive

ENVIROs File Amended Complaint against FWS' Take Rules for Polar Bears and Walrus in the Chukchi Sea
On September 23, 2008, the Center for Biological Diversity and Pacific Environment filed their first amended complaint against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the polar bear and walrus case.

This case, which is filed in the United States District Court for Alaska, challenges FWS rules under the Marine Mammal Protection Act authorizing the Incidental Take of polar bears and Pacific walrus resulting from any oil and gas industry pre-leasing, leasing and exploration activities in the Chukchi Sea and adjacent coastal areas of Alaska for five years.

The plaintiffs also challenge the accompanying biological opinion issued by FWS under the Endangered Species Act. This opinion concludes that the Incidental Take rules will not jeopardize the continued existence of the polar bear.

The plaintiffs also challenge the accompanying Environmental Assessment and finding of no significant impact issued by FWS pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.

The plaintiffs' real complaint is [perhaps summarized in their following allegation: "At the same time that global warming is wreaking havoc on the Chukchi Sea ecosystem, the Secretary [of the Department of the Interior] has opened the door to large-scale oil industry development in this otherwise pristine environment." In other words, the plaintiffs really want to stop oil and gas production and development in the Chukchi.

FWS has not yet responded to either the original or the amended complaint.

  • Click here to read amended complaint

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