Ringed and Bearded Seal Public Hearing
Testimony of Marleanna Hall, Projects Coordinator
March 7, 2011
Good evening. My name is Marleanna Hall. I am a projects coordinator at the Resource Development Council.
RDC is a statewide organization comprised of individuals and companies from Alaska’s oil and gas, mining, forest products, tourism, and fisheries industries. RDC’s membership includes Alaska Native corporations, local communities, organized labor, and industry support firms. RDC’s purpose is to encourage a strong, diversified private sector in Alaska and expand the state’s economic base through the responsible development of our natural resources.
The Endangered Species Act listing of both the ringed seal and the bearded seal is not warranted. Ringed and bearded seals and their habitats are well managed and protected by international agreements, conservation programs, and laws, including the Marine Mammal Protection Act. These and other measures are working, and the seals are in abundance. The listing of the animals would negatively impact an area of national significance because of its critical importance to domestic oil and gas production and development. Community development, and access to potential mineral resources may be impeded as well. These activities are not the cause of any purported decline in species abundance, but will be significantly and disproportionately impacted by an ESA listing.
As stated by the Biological Review Team, the proposal for listing the seals is “primarily due to concern about threats to the species’ habitat from climate warming and diminishing ice and snow cover.” The Endangered Species Act should not be used to control greenhouse gases, as it will likely negatively impact Alaska’s economy, with little or no added benefit to the seals. It will not make the sea ice grow.
The ringed and bearded seals are not experiencing problems under any of the factors set forth in the ESA for the listing of a species, other than the speculative risk of global warming and sea ice loss, and therefore should not be considered for an ESA listing.
In addition to this testimony, RDC will submit written comments by the March 25th deadline. Thank you for opportunity to testify today.