What's a polar bear to do? Your ice is melting, politicians won't listen, and the government is dragging its feet about listing you as endangered... Off to Washington, to start your own floating vigil! Uh oh, here comes the fuzz.
Greenpeace activist Tom Wetterer dressed in polar bear costume is arrested by outside the US Department of the Interior.
OK, it was one of our activists in a costume - peacefully
protesting the Bush Administration's delay in issuing a final
Endangered Species Act listing for the polar bear due to global
warming. Yesterday, the activist, dressed in a polar bear suit, sat
quietly in a paddleboat in a park pond in front of the Department
of Interior. (Until the police took him to jail, where he remains
as of writing.)
Full steam ahead for new oil
While the Department of Interior is dragging their feet on
protecting polar bears, they are moving full steam ahead on plans
to drill for oil in prime polar bear habitat. New oil leases are
opening up in the Chukchi Sea and oil companies are lining up
quickly to obtain licenses to drill. A fifth of the remaining
Arctic polar bears depend on Chukchi Sea ice in their hunt for
In December of 2005, Greenpeace and two other conservation
groups sued the Bush administration when it missed its first legal
deadline to respond to the petition for an endangered species
listing. On December 27, 2006, the Service announced its proposal
to list the species as "threatened" and had one year to make a
final listing decision. The legal deadline for doing so was January
Every week it seems there is new evidence that the sea ice is
melting and that the polar bear's habitat is disappearing. The US
Geological Survey released a report this past September predicting
that if current warming projections continue, two-thirds of the
world's polar bears will likely be extinct by 2050, including all
of the polar bears in Alaska. With a timeline like that, it is hard
to understand how the polar bears aren't already protected.
Why Listing is So Important?
If the polar bears were listed under the United States
Endangered Species Act - a safety net for plants and animals on the
brink of extinction - they would be granted a broad range of
protection. The protection would include a requirement that United
States federal agencies ensure that any action carried out,
authorized, or funded by the United States government will not
"jeopardize the continued existence" of polar bears, or adversely
modify their critical habitat.
Tell the US Congress not to wait for Bush - promote solutions to global warming now.
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