There is less than a week left to save the polar bears. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has until May 9th to rescind the reckless regulations passed by the Bush Administration that gut the protections afforded to polar bears under the Endangered Species Act. Arctic sea ice – critical habitat for polar bears – is literally melting away at an alarming rate thanks to global warming. With a single stroke of his pen, Secretary Salazar can restore the Endangered Species Act protections and save the polar bear.
Last year Greenpeace, together with other environmental groups, won a three-year legal battle to protect the polar bear from extinction when the federal government listed the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act. But the Bush administration included a regulation that exempts global warming from the threats the government must consider in protecting the polar bear.
Global warming is the biggest threat to polar bears because it causes their sea ice habitat to melt beneath them. This regulation undermines the basic protections needed to save the polar bear from extinction. The Bush administration also included a second regulation that will weaken the Endangered Species Act so that no animal could be protected from the effects of global warming.
Congress granted Interior Secretary Ken Salazar the authority to immediately rescind these Bush era regulations that fail to protect the polar bear or stop global warming pollution. If Secretary Salazar does not withdraw the Bush regulations by Saturday May 9, they will remain in effect.
UDATE: Secretary Salazar disappointed conservationists by failing to rescind these regulations, despite the petition with 150,000 signatures that Greenpeace gave him. Reportedly, the decision is based of his belief thatthe ESA should not be used to target global warming pollution.