USGS Director James Reilly released a study on polar bears he had stalled for months on Friday

In response to the Post report, Reilly sent an email to his staff the next day, saying his decision to delay was justified because he wanted to be “satisfied” with its underlying science before making it public.

The study, which had been obtained by The Post last month, notes that shrinking sea ice in the Arctic threatens the survival of polar bears while enhancing the opportunity for fossil fuel exploration there. “The long-term persistence of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) is threatened by sea-ice loss due to climate change, which is concurrently providing an opportunity in the Arctic for increased anthropogenic activities including natural resource extraction,” it said.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had been seeking the report’s release for at least three months, according to several individuals briefed on the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The agency is legally required

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USGS Director James Reilly holds up polar bear study that could affect Trump’s drilling plans for Alaska

In an unusual move, U.S. Geological Survey Director James Reilly has refused to make public the study, by his own scientists, of the number of female polar bears that den and give birth on land near the southern Beaufort Sea. That is the same area that overlaps with federal land the Trump administration has opened up to oil and natural-gas development.

The study has been ready for at least three months. But Reilly — a geologist by training and former astronaut — has questioned why it uses data collected by a former agency scientist now working for an advocacy group and why it does not count each polar bear den individually, among other things, according to internal memos obtained by The Post.

The study, also obtained by The Post, notes that shrinking sea ice in the Arctic threatens the survival of polar bears while enhancing the opportunity for oil and

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