However, he sought to limit the economic effect of the decision with the inclusion of “administrative guidance” that said the listing would not be used to create back-door climate policy outside the normal system of political accountability. He also said that the threat to polar bears did not come from the petroleum industry.
In response, conservation groups including the Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council are seeking to overturn Kempthorne’s administrative actions and seek limits on greenhouse gas emissions.
Palin and other state officials called arbitrary a decision to list a healthy species judging by what they deem uncertain modeling of future climate change and unproven long-term impact of any future climate change on the species.
State Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Irwin said it could have wide economic effects.
“Inappropriate implementation of this listing decision could result in widespread social and economic impacts, including increased power costs and further increases in fuel prices, without providing any more protection for the species,” he said.
Deborah Williams, a former Interior Department special assistant for Alaska and an advocate in the state for global warming response, said Palin’s lawsuit was not a prudent use of state money.
“Clearly Secretary Kempthorne put a tremendous amount of thought into the listing decision and concluded correctly that listing was required,” she said.