JUNEAU: The Alaska Legislative Council has canceled a solicitation to hire a PR agency to help it combat the negative economic consequences of having polar bears protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The RFP was issued in December, but was abandoned following a Council meeting on July 19.
“We were never really told why [there was a move to cancel], but I wasn't supportive of the initiative all,” Rep. David Guttenberg, (D-Fairbanks) who is one of eight members of the Council, told PRWeek. “It was a very politically-partisan RFP. It says we're going to do this, assume all the science is wrong, and have a PR campaign to discredit global warming.”
The Legislative Council had called for an agency to plan a conference and launch a PR campaign based on the conclusions of a panel. The panel would have been designed, in part, to achieve “a workable resolution to the current regulatory constraints on the State's economy due to ESA listings based on climate change,” according to the RFP.
The ESA added polar bears to its endangered list in 2008 because of projected habitat loss caused by melting sea ice.
A legislative staffer who asked not to be named told PRWeek several firms responded to the RFP. The staffer noted the firms will not be compensated for their trouble because the state's procurement code allows for such cancelations.
“The proposals were wonderful pieces of work; it had nothing to do with the quality,” said Guttenberg, who reviewed them all. “But what the firms were being asked to do was not in the best interest of the state.”