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Murkowski Lashes Out at “Overbroad, Overreaching” NOAA Seal Decision

Senator Sees Christmas Friday Announcement as Evasive Tactic

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski responded with alarm at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s decision to categorize ringed seals and bearded seals as ‘threatened’ based on conjecture that forecasts conditions nearly a century away from now, and imperiling economic prospects for resource development that has historically co-existed with the seals.

This new decision will result in any federally-permitted activities in the seals’ habitat to clear added obstacles from the National Marine Fisheries Service.  It also defies research that indicates no evidence of decline in the seal populations presently, and appears to ignore the fact that the United States and Russia have begun a rigorous two-year process together to survey and assess the seal populations in the Bering Sea to inform policy decisions accurately.

“I believe that Alaska’s wildlife must be protected, but not by relying on overbroad, overreaching analysis that runs counter to the abundant seal populations we presently see,” said Murkowski.  “There is something misguided about policy that is guaranteed to cause real economic impact on the horizon based on a hundred year hunch. No wonder NOAA decided to release this decision the Friday before Christmas, hoping it won’t register with Alaskans.”

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