START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
2,512,526 people care about Environment & Wildlife

Federal Judge Rules Polar Bears Are ‘Threatened’, Not Endangered

Federal Judge Rules Polar Bears Are ‘Threatened’, Not Endangered

On Thursday, a federal judge ruled in favor of the Obama administration’s request to list the polar bear as merely threatened, not endangered, under the Endangered Species Act.

The decision was disappointing to both environmental groups who wanted the extra protections an endangered classification would afford, as well as industry interest who wanted the polar bear removed from the list altogether.

In his 116-page opinion (pdf), U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan of the District of Columbia wrote that he was “persuaded that the listing rule survives this highly deferential standard” and that the plaintiffs challenging the listing “have failed to demonstrate that the agency’s listing determination rises to the level of irrationality.”

Sullivan nevertheless made it clear in his opinion that he had some sympathy for environmental groups, such as the Center for Biological Diversity, which had argued that the science on global warming could have supported a finding that the bear was endangered.

“Certainly, where global warming has been identified as the primary threat to the polar bear’s sea ice habitat and the agency has acknowledged that the global warming trend is unlikely to reverse itself, a conclusion that the species is … ‘in danger of extinction’ has undeniable appeal,” Sullivan wrote in a footnote.

The issue of polar bear protections is complicated by many political factors, including the effects of human-induced climate change and the petroleum industry’s desire to conduct offshore drilling operations in the delicate Beaufort and Chukchi seas. So far, these operations have been put on hold because there is currently no technology available to clean up a catastrophic oil spill in the icy Alaskan waters.

According to Polar Bear International (PBI), “scientists have concluded that the threat to polar bears is ecological change in the Arctic from global warming. Polar bears depend on sea ice for hunting, breeding, and in some cases, denning. Summer ice loss in the Arctic now equals an area the size of Alaska, Texas, and the state of Washington combined.”

Unfortunately, the decision to list the polar bear as threatened rather than endangered was one that Obama inherited from the Bush administration, including a strategic caveat which prevents any interpretation of the bears’ threatened status to trigger climate change pollution regulation.

Earthjustice reports that the Obama administration is poised to make decisions in the coming months that threaten long-lasting and irreparable damage to the Arctic. It will decide whether to let stand Bush-era oil leases covering millions of acres in the Chukchi Sea. And it will decide whether to allow Shell Oil Co., the world’s second largest corporation, to embark on an aggressive oil drilling plan in Arctic seas starting in 2012.

Related Reading:

Shell’s Arctic Drilling Plans Face Further Delays

Polar Bear Swims For 9 Days Before Finding Ice

Polar Bear Bones Weakened By Pollutants

Source: NY Times

Read more: , , , , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

71 comments

+ add your own
2:56PM PDT on Apr 5, 2013

EXTINCTION

11:42PM PST on Nov 14, 2011

DEAR FRIENDS

GOOD DAY
WE LOVE POLAR BEARS WHICH CAN BE A WONDERFUL SAMBOL OF WILDLIFE AND WE CAN COMMUNICATE WITH WORLD BANK ON WILD LIFE PROTECTION PROGRAMME AND QUITE SURE THAT WE CAN BRING A BETTER PROPECTS OF SAVING POLAR BEARS FROM DESTRUCTION .

MR ZUBAIR KHAN
MEMBER

12:07PM PDT on Aug 11, 2011

Judges are not qualified to determine that. "Independent" scientist are the ones to decide it and anybody else. Bears' interest is the only thing to be considered.

8:19AM PDT on Aug 9, 2011

"Endangered" versus "threatened"??? Is that like the difference between "raped" and "having unconsentual sex"????

3:31AM PDT on Jul 28, 2011

Shameful!

3:09AM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

This is a very sad story. Other animals has to go only because "we" humans do not want to share the world with other life forms, these life forms "we" would not eat (vegetarian food is not a bad idea, or eating with conscience as the so called primitive cultures did and still do, if they still exist. No meat/fish every day). "We" destroy averything around us and "we" forget, that everything is important to survive, too.

As little child i thought that rain is when God and the angels cry - because "we" humans have forgotten that we need this "intelligence", someone who could help... if "we" hadn't turned away for many centuries ago...

"Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."
(Native American proverb)

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

6:02AM PDT on Jul 16, 2011

BLM, Federal Justices, numerous State and Federal legislators, all kissing up to Big Oil regardless of the negative effects to people places and animals.

12:20PM PDT on Jul 11, 2011

This judge is full of bull****

3:16PM PDT on Jul 9, 2011

Didn't this same judge give us good news previously by ruling polar bears Endangered? Now he turns around and votes the opposite? What the hell? Polar Bears (so obvious) should be on the Endangered List - Not threatened! What's wrong with you people - judge? Yeh right!

3:23PM PDT on Jul 8, 2011

Diane, topic related because big oil is behind the polar bear's minimised protections as well as wild horses'removals from their sanctuaried public lands,and BLM/special interestmassacres.Forced sterilization IS directly a violation of 1971 act because it causes extinction of the horses.contraception delays pregnancy. Toxicity NOT main issue here,it is the stripping of male horses'ability to reproduce and totally endangers the future of wild horse breeds.There will be no reproduction in any setting once the sterilizations take place. It deprives female and male horses their basic rights to parent offspring.Sterilization is also unneccesary invasive surgery.The free horse population is NOT too high, it is a LIE. Their numbers are actually too low.In captivity, the horses are dying because BLM and BP OIL are causing them to die starving and dehydrating in the overcrowded pens.They are also rough handling them, abusing them, and neglecting them. From this JULY 16,2011, unless we win a victory in court for enforcement of the act of 1971, a three state massachre of wild horses by BLM field offices begins,toward the total extinction of free horses in the united states.They kill off the horses any way they can,committed numerous felonies in the process,they break federal laws, then we have no democratic process anymore and are really just a totalitarian government,not a free nation anymore, because Wild Horses and Burros Law of 1971 was 100% voted into effect as FEDERAL LAW!

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free
CONTACT THE EDITORS

Recent Comments from Causes

These teachers protected their students. God Bless them. No dissertations about good vs. bad teachers…

Those were awesome! Thank you!

Stop messing up our home

meet our writers

Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
ads keep care2 free



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.