"It's based on science and it's science that is really meant to rule that act," said Carole Holley the Alaska Program Co-Director for Pacific Environment.
But many people disagree with Holley, and argue that science is no longer in the equation.
"What we are seeing now is an application of that act that we don't believe Congress ever intended, and that is to proactively management species that are currently healthy and robust," said Doug Vincent-Lang, Acting Deputy Director of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Congress passed the Endangered Species Act in 1973, the same year that Rep. Don Young took office.
"I'm one of the few people left in Congress that ever voted for the bill, and when we were told that this bill would help preserve species," Young said in a phone interview.
Young says he threw his support behind the bill because he thought it was going to be used to protect species on the edge of extinction.
"We were told it was reserved for, you know, primarily animals like tigers and elephants," said Young.
Today there are over 1,900 animals and plants on the list. Young says special interest groups have hijacked the act in an effort to block resource development.
"Unfortunately it was not written tight enough and it has been used as a deterrent for development of energy, development of property, agriculture industry," said Young.
Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell has also been very vocal in fighting several listings.
"Resource development can coexist with wildlife but what we don't need is for Alaska to become you know, the national zoo or the national park," said Governor Sean Parnell. "We need job security here and we need the animal populations. We can do that reasonably, we can do that responsibly and I think Alaskans deserve that."
The state has 4 lawsuits pending that deal with listings and critical habitat designations.
Environmental groups argue that without sound science, species wouldn't wind up on the list.
"I think that right now we have a population that is in decline, what has happened because of global climate change," said Holley when talking about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to list polar bears as threatened.
"The reason that the listing decisions are in the hands of Fish and Wildlife service and National Marine Fisheries Service is these agencies' scientists are really the best people to determine how the species are doing," said Rebecca Noblin, spokesperson for the Center of Biological Diversity.
For a look at the species listed in Alaska visit the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's website.