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Alaska Native groups worried about losing tax revenues and royalties from oil development filed a lawsuit Friday challenging the federal government's designation of critical habitat for threatened polar bears on the state's oil-rich North Slope.
The Arctic Slope Regional Corp...other groups took issue with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to designate more than 187,000 square miles (484,330 sq. kilometres) — an area larger than California — as critical habitat for the bears, part of the recovery plan required by law for a species declared threatened or endangered.
The Arctic Slope Regional Corp., North Slope Borough, Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope and other groups
"will not address the primary threat to polar bears, the loss of sea ice due to climate change."
The state also has challenged the designation of polar bears as a threatened species. That lawsuit, filed two years ago, is pending before a federal judge in Washington, D.C.