The administration of outgoing president Donald Trump on Monday proposed allowing oil and gas companies who are exploring for resources in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to disrupt polar bears living there.
"The Trump administration seems determined to push polar bears further down the path to extinction before leaving office," Kristen Monsell, legal director of the Center for Biological Diversity's oceans program, told Reuters:
The so-called "incidental harassment authorization" proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would pave the way for seismic surveys in the refuge's coastal plain, a key part of President Donald Trump's last-minute push for more oil development in the region.
The Fish and Wildlife Service said that no polar bears are expected to be injured or killed during seismic operations, some of which are scheduled to take place next month, and expects disturbances to impact only a few bears.
But several veteran Arctic scientists and environmentalists in Alaska have warned against seismic operations – which can involve blasting to produce sonic images of underground formations. They argue the testing will upset wildlife and that the heavy machinery and activity involved in the work will damage tundra and speed up the thaw of permafrost.
Read more at Reuters: Trump admin seeks to allow polar bear disturbance for oil in Alaska refuge [Photo: USFWS]