House members ask FWS to use care in polar bear habitat action

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Dec. 28 -- Thirteen US House members asked Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to consider economic and energy security consequences of adopting a US Fish and Wildlife Service recommendation proposal to place critical habitat for polar bears under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

“We urge the FWS to rely on the best available peer-reviewed science when determining the appropriate critical habitat for the polar bear, especially if such habitat designation could adversely impact activities essential to our nation’s economy and severely impact US industry and consumers,” Rep. Don Young (R-Alas.) and 12 other House members said in their Dec. 22 letter.

“As was the listing itself, the habitat designation is critical to Alaska, the nation, and the international community,” the 12 Republicans and one Democrat, Dan Boren (Okla.), continued.

Their letter came as a 60-day comment period ended for the Interior agency’s Oct. 22 proposal to put approximately 200,541 sq miles of barrier islands, sea ice, and terrestrial denning habitat under the ESA. The proposed critical habitat includes areas of oil and gas activity, FWS noted.

The polar bear was listed as a threatened species under the ESA in May 2008 due to loss of sea habitat from melting polar ice. FWS said other threats evaluated at that time included impacts from human activities such as oil and gas exploration and production, subsistence harvests, shipping, and tourism.

It said the ESA requires the US Interior secretary, to the maximum extent possible, to designate critical habitat at the time a species is listed. FWS determined, however, that more time would be needed to conduct a thorough evaluation and peer review of a potential critical habitat designation and consequently did not publish a proposed designation with the final listing rule.

Mid-2010 deadline
As part of a subsequent legal settlement with several environmental organizations, DOI agreed to publish a final rule designating critical habitat for the polar bear no later than June 30, 2010, FWS said. The Oct. 22 proposal was a step toward fulfilling that agreement, it indicated.

“The FWS acknowledges that the sum of documented impacts from activities, such as oil and gas development and shipping, have been minimal on the polar bear population,” the lawmakers said, adding, “Data provided by monitoring and reporting programs in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, as required under the more restrictive Marine Mammal Protection Act incidental take authorizations for oil and gas activities, have shown that oil and gas activities can coexist with polar bears through the use of appropriate mitigation measures.”

They added they support FWS efforts to assure polar bears and other wildlife thrive and recognize the polar bear “has become iconic in the climate change debate, and as such, any policy affecting them quickly becomes one infused with emotion and attention from certain special interest groups.”

They said, “We strongly urge the FWS to use sound science and incorporate any applicable technological and scientific advances when determining the most effective way to proceed forward with the polar bear proposed critical habitat. As climate modeling and scientific technology continue to develop, we trust that the FWS will reevaluate any determinations.”

The letter produced an immediate response from Consumer Energy Alliance Pres. David Holt. “Balancing the safe, responsible development of America’s abundant natural resources while ensuring its critical habitat is preserve is something we can do, must do, and in fact have done for many years,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the [FWS] proposal, as currently written, seeks to lock up enormous resources of American energy [which] could create thousands of good-paying jobs and help stabilize energy prices for struggling consumers when they need it most,” Holt observed.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

PHMSA proposes pipeline accident notification regulations

07/02/2015 The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has proposed new federal oil and gas pipeline accident and notification regulations. ...

FourPoint Energy to acquire Anadarko basin assets from Chesapeake

07/02/2015 FourPoint Energy LLC, a privately owned Denver company, plans to acquire oil and gas assets from Chesapeake Energy Corp. subsidiaries Chesapeake Ex...

Puma Energy completes purchase of Murco’s UK refinery, terminals

07/02/2015 Singapore-based Puma Energy Group Pte. has completed its purchase of UK midstream and downstream assets from Murco Petroleum Ltd., a subsidiary of ...

BP to settle federal, state Deepwater Horizon claims for $18.7 billion

07/02/2015 BP Exploration & Production Inc. has agreed in principle to settle all federal and state claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon inciden...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX oil prices plummet on crude inventory build, Iran deadline extension

07/02/2015 Oil prices plummeted more than $2/bbl July 1 to settle at a 2-month low on the New York market after a weekly government report showed the first ri...

API to issue recommended practice to address pipeline safety

07/01/2015 The American Petroleum Institute expects to issue a new recommended practice in another few weeks that addresses pipeline safety issues, but the tr...

Shell Midstream Partners takes interest in Poseidon oil pipeline

07/01/2015 Shell Midstream Partners LP has completed its acquisition of 36% equity interest in Poseidon Oil Pipeline Co. LLC from Equilon Enterprises LLC, a s...

MARKET WATCH: Oil prices decline as US crude inventories post first gain in 9 weeks

07/01/2015 Oil prices on July 1 surrendered much of their gains from the day before after the release of a government report showing the first rise in US crud...

FWS issues Shell letter of authorization on Chukchi Sea lease

07/01/2015 The US Fish & Wildlife Service issued Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. a letter of authorization (LOA) related to the potential disturbance of polar b...
White Papers

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

When Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Taking the Headache out of Fuel License and Exemption Certificates: How to Ensure Compliance

Tue, Aug 25, 2015

This webinar, brought to you by Avalara, will detail the challenges of tax document management, as well as recommend solutions for fuel suppliers. You will learn:

-    Why it’s critical to track business partner licenses and exemption documents
-    The four key business challenges of ensuring tax compliance through document management
-    Best practice business processes to minimize exposure to tax errors

register:WEBCAST


Driving Growth and Efficiency with Deep Insights into Operational Data

Wed, Aug 19, 2015

Capitalizing on today’s momentum in Oil & Gas requires operational excellence based on a clear view of what your business data is telling you. Which is why nearly half* of oil and gas companies have deployed SAP HANA or have it on their roadmap.

Join SAP and Red Hat to learn more about using data to drive process improvements and identify new opportunities with the SAP HANA platform running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This webinar will also show how your choice of infrastructure impacts the performance of core business applications and your ability to achieve data-driven insights quickly and reliably.

*48% use SAP, http://go.sap.com/solution/industry/oil-gas.html

register:WEBCAST


OGJ's Midyear Forecast 2015

Fri, Jul 10, 2015

This webcast is to be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and Senior Economic Editor Conglin Xu.  They will summarize the Midyear Forecast projections in key categories, note important changes from January’s forecasts, and examine reasons for the adjustments.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected