Federal judge sides with NOAA in seals decision

Posted: Friday, December 24, 2010

ANCHORAGE — Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell is cheering a judge’s ruling that backs the federal government’s refusal to list ribbon seals as endangered.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte in San Francisco ruled Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by two environmental groups against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Center for Biological Diversity and Greenpeace maintain the seals are threatened by global warming.

Ribbon seals are found in the Bering and Chukchi seas off Alaska and the Sea of Okhotsk off Russia. From March through June, they rely on pack ice in the Bering and Okhotsk seas for reproduction and molting, and as a foraging platform.

NOAA officials rejected the listing petition in late 2008, saying climate models project annual ice will continue to form.

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