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Alaska appeals federal court ruling upholding endangered species protections for polar bears

Posted: August 27, 2011 - 9:17pm

JUNEAU — The state of Alaska is appealing a federal ruling that upholds a 2008 decision to give polar bears federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Alaska Attorney General John Burns says the federal government’s decision was based on “uncertain predictions of future threats” of habitat loss, not on observed threats or declining bear numbers.

The polar bear is the first designated as threatened under the Endangered Species Act because of global warming. In June, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., upheld the government’s decision to protect the bear, finding it was rational given the facts and best available science.

Gov. Sean Parnell says the bear population has more than doubled in the last 40 years and doesn’t merit special protections. The state says it filed its appeal notice Friday.

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