Polar Bear Protection Takes A Hit

Polar Bear

Image via Wikipedia

Obama Gives ‘Lump of Coal’ to Polar Bears: Activists

Obama’s administration has failed to ensure the survival of polar bears by not listing the animals as endangered.

Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity, who has led legal efforts to protect the polar bear, said that the Obama administration “sacrificed sound science for political expediency.”

The US Fish and Wildlife Service, responding to a legal suit, agreed Wednesday that climate change posed “serious threats” to the polar bears by melting their Arctic habitat in the northernmost state of Alaska.

But the service said the threat was “in the foreseeable future” and that polar bears were not “in danger of extinction.” A listing as endangered would likely lead to federal protection of areas rich in oil and gas.

This decision has left in place a 2008 decision by the Bush administration.  This administration did not favor protection of animals under the Endangered Species Act.

The Obama administration has pledged to become more active in fighting climate change, and it incurred the wrath of the oil industry on Thursday by announcing it would regulate greenhouse gas emissions by power plants.

Last month, the Fish and Wildlife Service set aside 187,000 square miles (484,000 square kilometers) off Alaska’s northern shore as a bear habitat, which means any project that could impact the animals’ way of life must undergo careful review.

The northern polar cap has shrunk between 15 and 20 percent over the last 30 years. But a recent study in the British journal Nature said that the melting was not inevitable and could be reversed.

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