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SAVE THE POLAR BEAR SEAS

Dear WWF Activist,

The Department of the Interior’s recent listing of the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act should have given the species important new protections. But the agency included huge loopholes that undermined those protections.

Now, with these loopholes in place and oil prices high, the administration is pressing for more drilling in America’s special places, including within the polar bear’s sensitive arctic realm.

But rushing to drill for oil in the polar bear’s habitat would have no impact on current fuel prices and little impact in the long run, given the very small proportion of world oil supply that would come from these leases. In addition, increased fossil fuel production and use will add to climate change and cause more of the bear’s sea ice habitat to melt.

Polar bears need our help now. Experts believe that two-thirds of the world’s polar bear population may be lost by 2050.

To close the loopholes and protect the imperiled polar bear, Reps. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) and Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) introduced the Polar Bear Seas Protection Act. This important legislation will halt oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort seas (known as the Polar Bear Seas) until scientists can fully assess the environmental impacts and designate protected critical habitat.

Help close the polar bear protection loopholes by pushing for passage of the Polar Bear Seas Protection Act.

This bill is urgently needed. The Administration’s five-year leasing plan for the Arctic Ocean calls for leasing 33 million acres in the Beaufort Sea and 40 million acres in the Chukchi Sea. Energy development would have many negative impacts on arctic marine systems. There are no effective methods for cleaning up oil spills in arctic waters. The Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 demonstrated the remarkable longevity of oil spill impacts. Unfortunately, the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the disaster, which dramatically reduced the punitive damages awarded to fishermen, Alaska Natives, and others affected by the spill, provides industry little incentive to avoid future spills.

The Polar Bear Seas Protection Act would protect much more than polar bears. The ocean and coastal ecosystems of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas are home to walruses, seals and endangered whales, and serve as staging and molting grounds for hundreds of thousands of migratory birds. The region’s pristine marine resources and coastal habitats are integral to the livelihoods and cultures of Native communities across northern Alaska. These intact ecosystems are truly a national treasure.

Urge your member of Congress to cosponsor the Polar Bear Seas Protection Act.

Thank you for your help. Please forward this alert to your friends and family.

Sincerely,
 
Margaret Williams

Margaret Williams
Managing Director,
Bering Sea and Kamchatka Ecoregion Program
World Wildlife Fund 

and

Geoffrey York

Geoffrey S. York
Polar Bear Conservation Coordinator
WWF Arctic Program

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DID YOU KNOW?

orangutanThe United States became the first country in the world to ban the import and sale of illegally sourced wood. Orangutans and other forest-dwelling creatures around the world will benefit from this major conservation victory. 

 

 


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