May 13, 2008 at 12:20 am #3635
U.S. to decide on polar bear’s endangered status soon
Deborah Zabarenko, Reuters Published: Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Paul J. Richards/Getty Images Polar bears iare battling for survival, as climate change reduces the time they can hunt for food, warn environmentalists
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration must decide by May 15 whether polar bears in the United States should be listed as threatened by climate change under the Endangered Species Act, a federal judge ruled Tuesday, barring further delay.
U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland, California, ruled in favor of the plaintiffs — the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Biological Diversity and Greenpeace — finding the U.S. government broke the law by missing the deadline for a polar bear decision by four months.
The Interior Department, which has responsibility for endangered species, was supposed to issue a decision in January but postponed that for a month. Most recently, it asked for a delay until June 30 so its lawyers could finish reviewing and revising the decision.
Wilken denied this request.
“Defendants offer no specific facts that would justify the existing delay, much less further delay,” she said.
“To allow defendants more time would violate the mandated listing deadlines under the ESA (Endangered Species Act) and congressional intent that time is of the essence in listing threatened species.”
The government must decide whether to classify polar bears living in Alaska as threatened, meaning they might face a risk of extinction in the future. If it does, then it must develop a plan to stave off the threat, a complicated process that could take years. The action would not affect polar bears living in other Arctic countries, such as Russia or Canada.
Environmental groups have pressed the U.S. government to decide on the polar bears’ fate, arguing that the disappearance of their icy habitat due to global warming threatens their existence.
“The federal court has thrown this incredible animal a lifeline,” said Andrew Wetzler of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The Endangered Species Act requires the decision to be based solely on science, and the science is absolutely unambiguous that the polar bear deserves protection.”
Shane Wolf, a spokesman for the Interior Department, said by e-mail: “We have received the court’s decision and are reviewing it. We will evaluate the legal options and will decide the appropriate course of action.”
Polar bears live only in the Arctic and depend on sea ice as a platform for hunting seals. A report by the U.S. Geological Survey said two-thirds of the world’s polar bears — some 16,000 — could be gone by 2050 if predictions about melting sea ice hold true.
This is the first time global warming has been a factor in proposing a threatened status for any U.S. species.
Until the U.S. government issues its decision on polar bears’ status under the Endangered Species Act, there should be no more oil and gas development in the Arctic bear’s habitat, according to the environmental law group Earthjustice.
Earthjustice, which was not involved in the current polar bear lawsuit, is proceeding with a separate suit challenging the Bush administration’s sale of oil and gas development rights in the Chukchi Sea off the Alaskan coast, a prime polar bear area.
During the first delay in issuing the polar bear decision, the Interior Department sold oil and gas rights on Feb. 6 across some 29.7 million acres in the Chukchi Sea for a record $2.66 billion – about four times what the government expected to get.
“Only after deciding what level of protection polar bears warrant can informed decisions be made about how, where and when oil and gas development might go forward in polar bear habitat,” the group’s Erik Grafe said in a statement.
Interior Department officials have acknowledged that the science on the polar bear’s future is not in doubt but have said that any plan to remove the threat to the animals’ existence would be complicated, since climate change is a global phenomenon rather than a particular limited area with a specific problem.
In Canada, where two-thirds of the world’s polar bears live, an advisory panel — the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife — said last Friday that the polar bear is of “special concern” but is not endangered or threatened with extinction.
May 13, 2008 at 12:42 am #6860
Here is update on lengths Environmental groups like NDRC & Earthjustice are going to block Alaska Oil development. – A Calif Judge pushing for Government to make call on Polar Bears as Endangered species.
Meanwhile Earthjustice is doing separate law suit to block Gas & Oil development that is underway.
Oil companies need to weigh in on this issue May 15, 2008 with the real facts – not the hype from alarmist like Gore & shrinking ice shelf puttng Polar Bears extinct by 2050……pure crap!!
The Polar Bear population in 1972 was ~5,000 in Alaska region that is under study – today that population is over 25,000 and growing!! And as for Gore’s claim of the shrinking ice shelf – it is thicker now than it was in 1979 which was a peak in recent history……and the thickness is growing not shrinking. Go check out NOAA to find out real facts and data not the Pusedo science that Environmentalist keep putting out.
This has huge & far reaching complications for the Oil Industry – if Polar Bears become endangered then anything that “might” threaten their existance becomes blocked. No drilling, no pipelines, no exploration or production in regions (which have increased greatly with thier numbers to the point that new species is being created as Grizzly & Polar Bears cross breed to a new species).
And if Environmentalist can show that Global Warming threatens the Ice Shelf which threatens the “Proclaimed” Endangered Polar Bear…..then everything can be over-ridden to a degree that the past stupid legislation like Kyoto and other Global Warming legislation becomes mere baby-steps.
This is huge travesty of justice – having a judge from the most Environmentally liberal state in the country put our Federal Government on timeline to make a call about a complex issue that is surrounded by false claims, popular lies and political issues disconnected from the factual truths that have been hidden by a liberal pro-environmental anti-oil media.
We Send out the Special Force version of Oil Lobbyist to cut this stupid move at the pass: it is a complete Lie, it has nothing to do with survival Polar Bears (who by the way eat humans) or Global Warming – it is pure Anti-Oil Production that will keep us tied to the countries that hate the U.S.
May 15, 2008 at 11:52 pm #6849
Looks like the Oil industry sat on it’s duff and allowed the Polar Bear to become listed as Endangered, even though it is based on future 50 year weather projection . When have we ever believed these LT weather model projections??
But Interior Secretary Kempthorne did add a ruling that it would be “wholly inappropriate” to use the (Endangered Species Act) listing as a tool to reduce greenhouse gases, as environmentalists had intended to do. NDRC & Greenpeace are already at work to remove the motion.
I cannot understand why Oil people aren’t at work to over turn the listing since it is the first time a thriving species has been put on the list based on extreme long term weather projection 50 years in the future!!
Here is the news item link:
Polar Bear Is Made a Protected Species
[size=-1]New York Times, United States – May 14, 2008
[size=-1]Mr. Kempthorne said the Endangered Species Act was “never meant to regulate global climate change” and that it would be “inappropriate” to use the polar … <see full news article at link: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/15/us/15polar.html?em&ex=1210910400&en=4a56875483b0a38b&ei=5087 >
Link to article comparing sea ice & global temperature hockey stick look that eventually proved false for
“Gore” global warming graph, and has comparison of Russian ice data to current Polar Bear Sea Ice chart.
June 3, 2008 at 7:58 pm #6810
<Polar Bear/Oil Block Update – Alaska Governor takes on Environmentalist & Bush/Fed Government but NDRC & Biodiversity appeal Global warming block for ES >
You go, girl: Alaska GOP Gov. will sue Bush administration over polar bear listing
By Michelle Malkin • May 22, 2008 09:26 AM
Posted 5/22 12:06am
Alaska GOP Gov. Sarah Palin is taking on the Bush administration’s eco-pandering decision to put polar bears on the threatened species list. Via Reuters comes news that Alaska will file suit to block the move. With staunch, sane, principled conservatives like Gov. Palin and Sen. James Inhofe taking a stand, there’s hope–however dwindling–for the GOP yet. Keep hope alive:
The state of Alaska will sue the U.S. government to stop the listing of the polar bear as a threatened species, arguing the designation will slow development in the state, Gov. Sarah Palin said on Wednesday.
Palin said the state will file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington challenging U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne’s decision to grant Endangered Species Act protections to the polar bear.
The Republican governor has argued that the ice-dependent polar bear, the first mammal granted Endangered Species Act listing because of global warming, does not need additional protections.
“We believe that the listing was unwarranted and that it’s unprecedented to list a currently healthy population based on uncertain climate models,” said Alaska Assistant Attorney General Steven Daugherty.
Even though Kempthorne enacted a rule aimed at precluding any new restrictions on oil and gas operations as a result of the listing, the Palin administration believes a wide variety of other development activities in Alaska would be hampered if the listing goes through, Daugherty said.
Any development or activity requiring federal permits or using federal funds would have to engage in a “consultation” process to ensure that polar bears are not harmed, he said.
That consultation, mandated by the Endangered Species Act, “is a long and time-consuming process,” he said. “It’s just, basically, a big time-and-money-waster.”[/blockquote]
The Bush administration’s listing was an act of submission in the face of lawsuits from environmental activist groups.
As usual with acts of submission, this one didn’t satisfy the demanders. They’ve gone back to court to sue because the listing doesn’t “include steps against global warming.”
In court documents filed late Friday, the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups asked a federal judge to reject Interior Department actions that were announced last week.
Polar bears are threatened with extinction in many areas because of the melting of their sea ice habitat. The groups say greenhouse gas emissions have led to rapid melting in the Arctic.
Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, facing a court deadline because of the groups’ earlier lawsuit, had announced Wednesday that polar bears would be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Among the steps he proposed to help them were increasing research and working with Canada to help the bears survive in the wild. But he rejected the addition of broad steps to reduce greenhouse gases, saying he would not allow the Endangered Species Act to be “misused” to regulate global climate change.
Kassie Siegel, climate director for the Center for Biological Diversity, said the administration’s proposal “violates both logic and the law” because it did not address the primary threat to polar bears. The listing of polar bears under the law is significant, she acknowledged, but the groups want them classified as endangered, a more serious category than threatened.
Joining in the court case were Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council. They announced their new federal court filing on Tuesday.[/blockquote]
GOP presidential candidate John McCain supported the listing: “He said that he strongly supports the move and believes it should have happened ‘long ago.’”
Does he support his radical environmental friends’ latest round of lawsuits?
Are your Oil/Refining companies supporting the Alaska Governor in her fight?
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.