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Alaska Native corp cites agency inaction for missed deadline

 A polar bear walks along the ice-free coast of Alaska's North Slope (Image from KTUU Archives)
A polar bear walks along the ice-free coast of Alaska's North Slope (Image from KTUU Archives) (KTUU)
Published: Feb. 26, 2021 at 8:20 PM AKST
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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - An Alaska Native corporation says it was unable to meet a deadline for aerial surveys of polar bear dens in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge because a federal agency did not issue necessary authorization for the work in a timely manner.

The Kaktovik Inupiat Corp. sought authorization from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for activities that could disturb polar bears as part of a proposal to conduct what are known as seismic surveys for oil and gas deposits.

The agency in December sought comments on a proposal to allow “incidental harassment” of polar bears during seismic work.

An agency official said it was unable to review every comment and make potential revisions before a deadline for den surveys was reached.

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