Alaska's Governor Says Listing Polar Bears as 'Endangered' Will Cripple Oil Industry

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This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," May 28, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Meanwhile, to Alaska — that state planning to sue the federal government for listening — or listing the polar bear as an endangered species, a move the state says could endanger its oil and gas industries.

On the phone right now, Alaska's Republican governor, Sarah Palin.

Governor, thank you for joining us.

Where does this stand, Governor?

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GOV. SARAH PALIN, R-ALASKA: Well, we are notifying the feds that it is our intent to sue here.

We certainly disagree with their findings that — a healthy population right now of polar bear, it's increased dramatically over the last 30 years, because the Marine Mammal Protection Act already protects this magnificent species. We disagree with their ruling that listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act will provide any more protections for the species.

CAVUTO: Well, I think what they're saying, Governor — and you know this far better than do I, but that because ice is melting and all this, it's more difficult for the polar bear to get fish, and a lot of them are drowning, and that it's a mess, and that you're kind of ground zero for that.

What do you say to that?

PALIN: Well, the Endangered Species Act isn't the right tool, though, to address impacts to the species from climate change. And this ruling and this opinion was a result of some unprecedented modeling by computers way, way into the future, you know, decades out.

We don't believe that this speculation, again unprecedented, on computer modeling could forecast the effects of climate change, to the degree that leaves us in a comfortable position. It's just too far out into the future, this speculative modeling.

CAVUTO: You know what I wonder about, Governor, is whether the polar bear is being kind of used here as a prop to prevent exploring or doing anything industrial in your state, because, at the very least, you know, polar bears — look at this little guy. He's cute. He's having fun. And there's big, bad old business that could jeopardize their livelihoods.

PALIN: Well, and they are cute. They're magnificent, really.

And we remain committed to ensuring that our polar bears are conserved. And we're going to continue to monitor the populations and their behaviors in relation to that changing sea ice condition.

But, you know, I will tell you, Neil, as you know, if extreme environmentalists have their way — and we do believe that what they would like to see, some of them, is oil and gas development shut down on Alaska's North Slope — then the economic impact to our nation would really be catastrophic there.

So, there's a lot at stake here.

CAVUTO: All right, Governor, we'll follow it closely.

Thank you for joining us. We wish you well.

PALIN: Thank you, sir.

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