The report concludes the $43 billion export project could have significant impacts on the environment — but would be a boost for state and local economies.
“There’s probably going to be a greater amount of uncertainty with some of the information that we’re able to provide, because it’s simply not going to be as precise as it used to be,” said wildlife biologist Todd Atwood.
The 3D seismic survey is part of the effort to keep the oil field alive for decades to come.
Polar bear researcher Eric Regehr says that in individual cases like this, it’s very difficult to attribute cause to why a bear wandered so far from its typical area.
“Unless the underlying problem of climate change is addressed, the sea ice is expected to continue to diminish,” said polar bear researcher Eric Regehr. “And at some point that will likely have a negative effect on the bears in this Chukchi area.”
That’s when outsiders started showing up in Kaktovik: tourists, who wanted to see polar bears before they went extinct.
Native hunters in Alaska are about to see an increase in the number of polar bears they can harvest from the Chukchi Sea bear population.
The Trump administration announced revisions to the Endangered Species Act to make it easier for developers to navigate the law. Environmental groups criticized the proposal.
“My attitude is science can only help us in understanding what’s likely to happen,” said Todd Atwood, a USGS wildlife biologist.
Two of the Arctic’s most iconic animals, polar bears and walrus, face challenges with retreating sea ice. But they haven’t been granted the same federal protections.