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Murkowski Comments on Proposed Polar Bear Critical Habitat Designation

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, issued the following statement Oct. 22 in response to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) proposal to designate 200,000 square miles in Alaska for polar bear critical habitat. The announcement opens a 60-day public comment period on the proposal. The polar bear was listed as threatened last year under the Endangered Species Act due to a loss of sea ice habitat caused by climate change, according to the FWS.

"We are in the process of getting more specific information on the restrictions associated with this proposed critical habitat designation and detailed boundaries of the physical areas in play," Murkowski said. "I remain concerned that this designation may result in losses for domestic energy development, America's energy independence and Alaska's culture and livelihood.  This proposed designation potentially includes huge portions of Alaska's northern coastal lands upon which Alaskans depend."

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