Supreme Court declines to challenge polar bear habitat protection

By Barbara Grzincic

(Reuters) –

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a fight over the federal government’s designation of a vast area in Alaska a critical habitat for polar bears, turning aside a challenge by the state, its native peoples and the oil and gas industry.

Alaska, the Alaska Federation of Natives and the Alaska Oil and Gas Association had asked the justices to overturn a February 2016 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That decision upheld the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s designation of 187,000 square miles of sea ice, barrier islands and coastal land as critical habitat for polar bears.

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