Interior Department Keeps Bush Polar Bear Rule
This past Friday, Interior Secretary Salazar announced that the new administration would not withdraw a special rule that limits protection for the polar bears. The rule was issued in the waning days of the Bush administration, just six months after the polar bear was declared a threatened species due to its melting habitat. It was specifically designed to prohibit the Fish and Wildlife Service from addressing the threat of global warming, even though global warming has been identified as the reason polar bears are in danger.
It was a mistake for the Obama administration to pass on offering full protection to the polar bear. Salazar did, however, hold open the possibility of increasing habitat protections for the bear at a later time. The Sierra Club will remain committed to working closely with the administration to increase these protections. However, as a poster child for global warming, if the polar bear disappears by mid-century, which scientists say will happen without bold and decisive action, it will only be an early casualty in the battle between our nation's wildlife and climate change.
Read the Sierra Club press release.