14 Days To Decide On Polar Bears
Judge sets May 15 deadlineUSSA, Bear Hunting Magazine
A federal judge in California has ordered the Bush administration to decide by May 15 whether the polar bear deserves protection under the Endangered Species Act.
The decision requires the Interior Department to reach a conclusion on whether climate change is pushing polar bears toward extinction. The agency proposed adding polar bears to its list in December 2006 because higher temperatures are shrinking the sea ice they depend on for survival, but officials have delayed a final decision on the matter for months.
When the Interior missed its own January 9th deadline, three environmental advocacy groups sued in U.S. District Court. Interior Department spokesman Shane Wolfe stated, "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."
"It's unfortunate that the debate has become more about timelines than actual science," said spokesman M. Dempsey. "What has become clear is that listing the polar bear as a threatened species is not about protecting the polar bear but rather advancing a particular political agenda."