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Polar Bear Critical Habitat in Alaska Restored by Appeals Court

  • Lower-court ruling ending bear-protection measures overturned
  • Fewer than 1,000 polar bears remain in northern Alaska

A 187,000 square-mile swath of land and sea in Alaska was restored by a federal appeals court as a “critical habitat” for polar bears, a boon for the endangered species and yet another blow to Alaska’s tumbling petroleum industry.

Monday’s ruling overturned a lower court decision siding with Alaska state officials and energy industry groups which argued that protections for the bears ordered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service six years ago were too arbitrary be enforced.