Arctic Slope Regional Corporation Joins State Of Alaska and Alaska Native Groups To File U.S. Supreme Court Petition
Coalition continues to fight
Coalition continues to fight polar bear critical habitat designation that could delay development activities in the state and negatively impact indigenous communities
ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Nov. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC) today filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court in response to a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling earlier this year. The ruling designated approximately 187,000 square miles of Alaska coastline and adjacent waters as critical habitat for polar bears, an area larger than the state of California.
Joining ASRC in the petition are the State of Alaska, the North Slope Borough, the Iñupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation, Kuukpik Corporation, Ukpeagvik Iñupiat Corporation, Olgoonik Corporation, Inc., Tikigaq Corporation, the Bering Straits Native Corporation, NANA Regional Corporation and Calista Corporation.
"We will not stand by and allow for our input and legitimate concerns to be ignored," said Rex A. Rock Sr., ASRC president and CEO. "For more than five years we have tirelessly fought this critical habitat designation, which threatens the economic viability of our communities and quality of life for our people. We are hopeful the Supreme Court will consider our argument and recognize the detrimental effects of the appellate court's extremely permissive decision."
"Designations of vast critical habitat areas makes it look like a lot is being done for polar bears, but in reality vast designations forsake meaningful, focused protections of truly important areas," said Bruce Dale, director of the State of Alaska's Division of Wildlife Conservation. "The designation of vast areas creates unneeded regulatory burdens without conservation benefit in areas rarely used by polar bears."
"My greatest concern is the people in our region and the burden this places on our communities," said North Slope Borough Mayor, Harry K. Brower Jr. "The designation does nothing to change the disappearing sea ice, which is the primary threat to the polar bear population, yet it puts the growth of our communities at risk."
In 2010 the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced its plan to set aside the area across the Arctic Slope, Northwest Arctic, Bering Straits and Calista regions as critical habitat for polar bears. ASRC and the North Slope Borough have been leading a coalition of Alaska Native groups from the North Slope, Northwest and Southwest Alaska to fight that ruling in court ever since.
That same year, ASRC and the State of Alaska commissioned an independent economic analysis of the designation. The analysis showed the financial burden to the state of Alaska, the North Slope Borough and to ASRC could reach into the billions.
Arctic Slope Regional Corporation is owned by and represents the business interests of the Arctic Slope Iñupiat. Since opening enrollment in 1990 to Alaska Natives born after 1971, the corporation's shareholder base has nearly tripled, growing from the 3,700 original enrollees to around 12,000 today. Corporate headquarters are based in Barrow, Alaska, with administrative and subsidiary offices located in Anchorage and throughout the United States. ASRC, along with its family of companies, is the largest Alaskan-owned company, employing approximately 10,000 people worldwide. The company has six major business segments: petroleum refining and marketing, energy support services, construction, industrial services, government services and resource development.