May 8, 2009

Feds let stand Bush ruling on polar bears

A federal refusal to use the U.S. Endangered Species Act to regulate greenhouse gases further endangers polar bears, environmental activists said.

The Interior Department Friday let stand a Bush administration rule barring the federal government from considering the effects of global warming on polar bears and other protected species, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Acknowledging the deadly effect of the emissions, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the Endangered Species Act is not the appropriate tool for us to deal with what is a global issue.

Environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, vowed to sue.

The impacts of global warming are already being felt in the arctic, said Andrew Wetzler, a council spokesman. The rule endorsed today is illegal, and we will continue to fight it in court.

Oil and gas companies, however, cheered Salazar's decision, saying a comprehensive strategy is needed address the complexities of global climate change.