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‘Critical habitat’ set aside in Alaska for polar bears

November 24, 2010
"Polar bears are slipping away," said Andrew Wetzler, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's land and wildlife program. "But we know that there are crucial protections that can keep them around. Today's designation is a start, especially in warding off ill-considered oil and gas development in America's most important polar bear habitat."
- Andrew Wetzler, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's land and wildlife program

The setting aside of 187,000 square miles in Alaska as 'critical habitat' for polar bears could have an impact on oil and gas drilling, federal and environmental officials said Wednesday.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) designated the land along the north coast of Alaska as part of a partial settlement in a lawsuit filed by environmental groups.

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