The Bush/Cheney Administration has just listed the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), after four months of delays. Unfortunately, it could be an empty gesture, lacking in any meaningful protections for polar bears.
With this listing, the administration has failed to:
designate critical habitat for polar bears;
stop destructive oil drilling in prime polar bear habitat;
require specific steps to be taken to address global warming and its disastrous effect on Arctic sea ice and polar bears' survival.
In fact, Interior Secretary Kempthorne made clear that the listing should not be used to address global warming or habitat loss -- the two main factors contributing to the decline of polar bears in the U.S.
This week's listing is already coming at the eleventh hour for polar bears -- these majestic bears can't wait for another administration. Demand REAL protections with a meaningful ESA listing for America's polar bears! (Learn more about this listing.)
To Interior Secretary Kempthorne,
While I applaud your office's decision to list polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, I am deeply disappointed with the lack of meaningful protections for polar bears under this decision.
Study after study has shown that global warming is already leading to dramatic melting of Arctic sea ice, which is crucial habitat for America's polar bears. Yet you have made clear that your agency will do nothing more under the listing to reduce global warming or curb harmful drilling that can threaten polar bears.
As a wildlife supporter and concerned citizen, I want to ensure a future for polar bears. Please strengthen this listing to include meaningful, specific actions that will help polar bears recover and avoid extinction.
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