Issue Date: May 19, 2008
Polar Bears Listed As Threatened
Citing loss of sea-ice habitat, last week the Department of Interior listed the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. In announcing the change, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said the department would take steps to ensure that the Endangered Species Act is not used to regulate the emissions of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, DOI's listing decision says federal agencies do not need to consider the impact of global warming pollution on the polar bear. Kempthorne said this move will limit "unintended harm to the society and economy of the U.S." The department also proposed a regulation reducing the protections the polar bear would otherwise receive. Environmental groups say the listing is a major breakthrough but the conditions that accompany it could gut any protections the ruling would seem to provide.
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