Despite pressure from many environmentalists, the Obama administration upheld a Bush administration rule limiting the regulatory impact of last year’s decision to list the polar bear as a threatened species.
The rule would essentially prevent the Endangered Species Act from becoming a venue for arguments about greenhouse gas emissions. And the logic is simple enough: Bear biologists hopefully have better things to do than analyze greenhouse gases from, say, a cement plant in Georgia, even if emissions from that plant contribute to global warming and the retreat of sea ice, which ultimately translates into hungry bears.
“We already are doing everything we can to protect the polar bear,” US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told reporters Friday. “The Endangered Species Act, however, is not in my view the proper mechanism for controlling our nation’s carbon emissions.”
Image courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service