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The Green Life: Polar Bears Protected . . . Sort Of

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May 15, 2008

Polar Bears Protected . . . Sort Of

Polar_bear_istock_000004462508xsmal The U.S. Department of the Interior secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced on May 14 that the polar bear will be listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, acknowledging that melting Arctic sea ice constitutes an ongoing threat to the bears' habitat. While the listing should provide the bears with some protection, it comes with baggage--namely the caveat that oil drilling will be permitted within polar bear habitats, under a proposed 4(d) rule. Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope sees the announcement as an empty gesture, explaining in a released statement that “allowing destructive energy development in polar bear habitat is akin to diagnosing someone with lung cancer and then handing them a lit cigarette. There is no environmentally-sound way to drill in polar bear habitat.” The proposed rule is available online for a 60 day public comment period, so be sure to let Kempthorne know how you feel about oil drilling in bear country. Find out more about how you can help the Sierra Club chill the drills here.

--D.W.

Sources:  U.S. Department of the Interior, Sierra Club

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