Too much cocaine in college?
The state (Alaska) is suing because the federal government’s designation will do nothing for the bears while costing the state and nation a great deal.
The Endangered Species Act specifically requires the government to balance the costs and benefits when it considers designating critical habitat for a species that has been listed as “threatened” or “endangered.” The federal government listed polar bears as threatened in 2008.
Designating critical habitat won’t change the only identified threat to the polar bear population — global warming. So the benefits of the designation are near zero. (The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s regulations state how to handle such situations: “A designation of critical habitat is not prudent when … such designation of critical habitat would not be beneficial to the species.” 50 CFR 424.12a)