Obama Retains Bush-Era Regulation Gutting Protections for Polar Bear

Secretary Salazar to Maintain Special Exemptions to Polluters

Media release - May 8, 2009
“Secretary Salazar’s failure to rescind this regulation only serves to cement the Bush administration’s legacy of ignoring global warming science, thus putting the polar bear at further risk of extinction,” said Melanie Duchin, Greenpeace’s global warming campaigner in Alaska. “Regrettably, it seems to reflect an emerging willingness by the Obama administration to ignore clear scientific imperatives on global warming in the face of industry pressure.”

Statement by Melanie Duchin, Greenpeace USA, on the Department of

Interior's Retention of Bush Administration Regulation Weakening the

Endangered Species Act

Background: On March 11, 2009, President Obama signed legislation giving

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar the authority to immediately

rescind, with the stroke of a pen, two Bush regulations that

fundamentally undermine protections for the polar bear and thwart the

regulation of greenhouse gas pollution.  On April 28, Secretary Salazar

rescinded one rule reinstating the consultation process between agencies

allowing science a role in decision-making on potential impacts to

endangered species.

Today, Secretary Salazar announced that the second regulation would

remain in place. This regulation known as the "polar bear special rule"

exempts global warming from the list of threats that the federal

government must consider in its efforts to protect the polar bear under

the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

To date, Greenpeace and the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) has

delivered nearly 150,000 petitions calling on Salazar to eliminate the

polar bear special rule.

VVPR info: Contact: Jane Kochersperger, Greenpeace Media Officer, cell: (202)-680-3798; Melanie Duchin, Greenpeace global warming campaigner in Alaska, cell: (907) 227-2700