Arctic Slope Regional Corporation Files Suit Over Polar Bear Critical Habitat Designation
ANCHORAGE, Alaska, May 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — ASRC today filed suit against the Department of the Interior over its unprecedented designation of more than 187,000 square miles as critical habitat for polar bears on Alaska’s North Slope, an area larger than the state of California. Arctic Slope Regional Corporation is joined by the North Slope Borough and a coalition of Alaska Native groups from the North Slope and Northwest and Alaska in seeking judicial relief for the department’s violation of the Endangered Species Act.
Joining ASRC in the lawsuit are the North Slope Borough, the Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, Kaktovik Inupiat Corporation, Kuukpik Corporation, Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation, Olgoonik Corporation, Inc., Cully Corporation, Tikigaq Corporation, the Bering Straits Native Corporation, NANA Regional Corporation and Calista Corporation.
“The Alaska Native community has long been a key partner in the effort to maintain a healthy population of polar bears along the North Slope,” said Rex Rock Sr., ASRC president and CEO. “It’s disappointing to see our input and our insight, including our legitimate concerns, disregarded by the federal government.”
An independent investigation commissioned by ASRC and the state of Alaska into the direct and indirect costs of the Critical Habitat Designation found the financial burden to the state of Alaska, North Slope Borough and ASRC could reach into the billions. Even a one-year delay in production for a relatively small North Slope oil field (190 million recoverable barrels) would likely equate to a loss of more than $200 million in royalties and tax revenues over 15 years. Because the revenues are shared, these adverse affects would be felt by all Alaska Native shareholders. Almost half of the North Slope oil production comes from an area within the Critical Habitat Designation.
“My biggest concern is how this will affect our communities and local economies,” said North Slope Borough Mayor Edward S. Itta. “Ordinary community development is at risk from this designation, and the polar bears aren’t helped by it in any way. Their problem is receding sea ice. The only thing this designation accomplishes is to create another threatened species — the people who live here.”
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the oil and gas industry accounts for more than 60% of the employment and 70% of the labor income in the North Slope Borough.
The state of Alaska filed a similar suit against the US Fish & Wildlife Service in early March of this year.
A copy of the complaint can be found on the ASRC website: www.asrc.com.
Arctic Slope Regional Corporation is owned by and represents the business interests of the Arctic Slope Inupiat. Since opening enrollment in 1989 to Alaska Natives born after 1971, the corporation’s shareholder base has nearly tripled, growing from the 3,700 original enrollees to around 11,000 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 five major business segments: petroleum refining and marketing, energy support services, construction, government services and resource development.
Director of Communications
SOURCE Arctic Slope Regional Corporation