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One Down, One to Go!

by Ryan Patterson

April 29, 2009

When I was in the 8th grade, I ran on the 4 x 4 relay team. One sunny Saturday on the rubber track still stands out in my mind. On that warm day, I ran a personal best for my leg of the relay, but our team lost the race in the end. On one hand, I was happy to have reached a new individual record, but on the other hand I was sad to have lost the race. Little did I know that feeling would come back years later while working at Greenpeace…..

The bittersweet emotion came yesterday, when I read a press statement from Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke announcing that they “are revoking an eleventh-hour Bush administration rule that undermined Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections.” In rolling back the legislation, they have ensured that federal agencies must consult with biologists when taking action that might further threaten endangered species. Wooo hooo! Yipeee! Hurray!

While it is nice to revel in this environmental victory, the overall picture isn’t as appealing. Secretary Salazar still has work to do to save the illustrious Polar Bear – he needs to withdraw the shameless exemption that removes global warming from the list of threats that must be considered when analyzing negative impacts to the Polar Bear under the ESA. If he doesn’t, it means that ice-bound Arctic species go extinct, thanks to human-made global warming pollution.

Polar Bears deliver 85,000 petitions to Secretary Salazar on Earth Day.

The interesting part of the story is that Greenpeace delivered 85,000 petitions to the Department of the Interior last week. Clearly, the Secretary has seen and heard the call to support the Polar Bear from supporters like you. Thank you! It really goes to show that we can make a difference when we pull together and when the government recommits itself to scientific integrity. But it also goes to show that government agencies move like honey, not like water, on environmental issues.

That leaves us with one oil-interested Bush regulation down and one left to go. Secretary Salazar has until May 9th to overturn the global warming exemption for the Polar Bear, so sign the petition now! Greenpeace is working to make sure that Salazar uses his authority to withdraw the regulation. After all, winning one lap doesn’t mean you’ve won the entire race.

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