ditorial: A limited victory for the polar bear
"Ever so grudgingly, the Bush administration officially acknowledged recently that global warming is impinging on the future of the polar bear. The administration agreed to list the animal as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

It's good news for the polar bear. It means that the federal government will have to assess the health of the bear's population and habitat as part of a recovery plan. It also means that federal agencies will have to consult with the Interior Department about activities that could imperil the bears — oil and gas drilling in Alaska's Chukchi Sea, for example.

Americans will no longer be able to import hides or other trophies, a ban likely to reduce hunting pressures on the bear.

But it's a limited victory.

The polar bear is the first animal to make the list because of projected habitat loss from global warming. Yet Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne made clear his decision is not a mandate for curbing emissions linked to climate change. Oil and gas exploration will continue within the limits of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, he said."

Get the Story:
Editorial: A Bear Makes The List (The Hartford Courant 6/2)

Relevant Documents:
Press Release | Kempthorne's Remarks | Final Rule | Interim Final Rule | MOU with Canada | Fact Sheet | Guidance from USGS | Guidance from FWS

Related Stories:
George F. Will: The new wards of the government (5/22)
Editorial: Listing of little help for polar bear (5/19)
Interior lists polar bear as protected species (5/15)