U.S. stifles officials from responding to global warming questions

Thu, 2007-03-08 09:29Bill Miller
Bill Miller's picture

U.S. stifles officials from responding to global warming questions

The memos, passed to the New York Times by an environmental campaigner in Alaska and a former Interior Department official in the Clinton administration, say travel delegations will have an “official spokesman” responding to questions, especially about polar bears.

The Bush administration in December proposed listing polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act due to the summertime retreat of sea ice bears use for seal hunting. Environmentalists want the U.S. to restrict greenhouse gases linked to global warming as a way of reducing risks to the 22,000 polar bears.

The Fish and Wildlife Service this week held the first of several hearings in Alaska and Washington on the question.

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Two oil companies planning to drill in remote Arctic waters, Shell and ConocoPhillips, are pleading with U.S. regulators not to make them follow new guidelines proposed by the Interior Department that would require the companies to keep emergency spill response equipment close at hand and prohibit the use of chemical dispersants.

The precise details of the new rules for Arctic drilling operations have not been made public as an inter-agency review of the Interior Department's proposal is still being carried out.

But records of meetings...

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