Juneau, Alaska (AP) The oil industry is bracing for courtroom battles to try to maintain its stake in the Alaskan oil fields now that the interior department has listed polar bears as a threatened species.
About 15 percent of the nation's oil is being produced in Alaska. Soaring crude prices are pushing companies to look farther and farther offshore to seas which are frozen much of the year.
Interior secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced Wednesday that the continuing melting ice in Alaska means the polar bear is a species likely to be in danger of extinction in the near future.
The oil industry sys it's concerned the decision will fuel prolonged court battles over future oil exploration and production.