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FWS Seeks Comments on ANWR Polar Bear Study; Critics See Drilling Push

“A decision by the Department of the Interior to open up comments on a scientific study looking at how polar bears are impacted by oil and gas activity is raising questions from observers who say the department may be looking to undermine any opposition to drilling in protected Alaskan wilderness.

The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) posted the study to the Federal Register Tuesday, inviting comment on peer-reviewed research looking at how seismic activity from the oil and gas industry affects polar bear “denning” as they raise their young cubs.

But experts say it’s highly unusual for any branch of Interior to post one scientific study for comment rather than a body of peer-reviewed research that accompanies a policy decision.

“What it looks like to me is they’re giving industry the opportunity to negate the study,” said Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy and the Union of Concerned Scientists.”

Rebecca Beitsch reports for The HIll February 18, 2020.