Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Polar Bear Update!

Update 14 May 7:30 pm
The good news? After several years of pressure from environmentalists (and average citizens) and a court order to make a decision already, this afternoon the Bush Administration agreed to add the polar bear to the Endangered Species list, which means the bears will now be eligible for special protection. It’s not a slam dunk, since in the same breath Interior Secretary
Dirk Kempthorne said it would be “wholly inappropriate” to use this decision to address climate change issues. The Secretary also doesn’t believe this decision should have an impact on Arctic oil drilling.

Um, yeah. The reason Mr. Bear in the photo is sticking out his tongue at the Interior Dept. is that the polar bears are endangered
because their icy climate is melting (climate change), and drilling will further shrink their habitat.

The New York Times has more. For now, a BIG congrats to everyone who helped keep the pressure on for the past several years. The Department of the Interior made this decision only grudgingly, in response to people just like us bothering the heck out of them.

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Emily said...

I was both joyful and annoyed when I read about this decision. Joyful for obvious reasons, because this is a bit overdue, and annoyed because of the Interior Secretary's comments are pretty ridiculously ignorant.

Still, I'll take the victories where I can get 'em. It's a start, after all. :)

jen x said...

Emily: I know what you mean -- this was definitely a mixed victory. I'm hopeful it will create a useful legal foundation, and one that the Interior Dept can't really control. The Sec'y is free to offer his own tortuous logic on what the designation really means, but at least with the official designation a court can rule on interpretation, e.g. when companies try to drill.