Thursday, May 15, 2008

Polar Bears "Threatened" Species

In a victory for environmentalists, Polar Bears were named a "threatened" species by the U.S. Dept. of the Interior, according to the Washington Post.
Under the law, the federal government is now required to draft a recovery plan for the species, which entails assessing the population and its habitat. The ruling also compels federal agencies to consult with the Interior Department when considering decisions that could further imperil the polar bears.
Administration officials, however, sought to minimize the policy consequences of the decision -- the first time the Endangered Species Act has been invoked to protect an animal principally threatened by global warming. Kempthorne made clear that the decision would not justify regulating emissions from power plants, vehicles or other human activities.
Dale Hall, who directs the
Fish and Wildlife Service, which decides how to protect listed species, said such regulations would be justified only if the administration could prove a direct connection between the emissions and the polar bears' predicament.
"We have to be able to connect the dots," Hall said. "We don't have the science today to be able to do that."
But environmentalists, who by and large praised the decision, said the administration would have no choice but to curb greenhouse gases.
"The law says what it says, not what the administration wishes it says," said Kassie Siegel, climate program director at the Arizona-based
Center for Biological Diversity. "This is great news for polar bears. . . . It's also a watershed moment, the strongest statement we've had to date from this administration about global warming."
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at out the National IPL Blog.
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