The Alaska legislature wants to use $2 million in state money to fund an “academic based” conference to highlight the views of scientists who don’t think the polar bear should be put on the endangered-species list. The U.S. Interior Department must make a decision by May 15 on whether polar bears are a threatened or endangered species, and “[w]e want to have the money to hire scientists to answer the Interior scientists,” says Alaska House Speaker John Harris (R). Proponents of the conference are concerned that a polar-bear listing would adversely affect Alaska’s economy; critics point out that the Interior is required to base its decision on science, and all the science points to imminent polar-bear woe. Says researcher Rick Steiner, “This truly is the conference to nowhere.”


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