Today the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service took a swing and missed the ball. While today the polar bear has been listed on the Federal Endangered Species list, that listing was as a threatened species and not an endangered species. Additionally, Secretary Kempthorne went out of his way to tell people that this listing will not have any impact on the United States’ climate change strategy. In fact in the press release (click here to read the release) he is quoted:
While the legal standards under the ESA compel me to list the polar bear as threatened, I want to make clear that this listing will not stop global climate changes . . . That is why I am taking administrative and regulatory action to make certain the ESA isn’t abused to make global warming policies.
The press release further made it very clear that this listing would not be used to prevent the exploitation of oil reserves in the arctic. This is clearly a miss on protecting the environment and on forward thinking on climate change. Unfortunately nothing better could have been expected from the current administration.
Once I have had a chance to read the actual proposal, I hope to provide more detail. In the meantime the NRDC has some good information (click here).