Alaska aborts anti-ESA ad campaign

In February, Alaska lawmakers decided to launch a $1.5 million public relations campaign against the Endangered Species Act, and specifically against the listing of the polar bear as a threatened species. Later, they toned it down a bit, planning to use the money to hold a conference on polar bear listing and ask PR firms “to evaluate whether a public relations campaign . . . could diminish negative economic effects of the Endangered Species Act.”

Now it appears that even that proposal is dead. According to the Anchorage Daily News:

The Alaska Legislature is about to abandon a planned public relations effort aimed at fighting the Endangered Species Act. . . . The Legislature planned to put on a conference on the Endangered Species Act and use the findings in a public relations campaign. The campaign would be aimed at creating a “grass-roots” call for limits on the Endangered Species Act, including how it’s applied to Alaska’s polar bears and beluga whales. . . . But enthusiasm for the effort fizzled over the last several weeks, legislators said, with some saying it could create a black eye for Alaska if it came across as though politicians were directing the science.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that the state has changed its anti-conservation attitude. It is still pursuing its legal challenge to the polar bear listing.