Although this was the first time the US Endangered Species Act was used to protect a species threatened by climate change, the bears will only be legally protected from the direct effects of hunting, and some other activities, because of limits imposed by the Interior Department. It invoked a seldom used loophole to make it easier for the oil and gas industry to actually expand activities that already threaten the bears and their habitat.
The Interior Secretary, Dirk Kempthorne, who spent much of his political life opposing the Endangered Species Act, said it would be “inappropriate” to use the polar bear listing “to regulate global climate change”.
Faced with overwhelming scientific evidence that already rapid loss of sea ice is accelerating, Mr Kempthorne said and he no choice but to declare the species threatened.
“Sea ice is vital to polar bears’ survival,” he said. “This has been a difficult decision. But in light of the scientific record, and the restraints of the inflexible law that guides me,” he had made “the only decision I can make.” But he then added “This listing will not stop global climate change or prevent any sea ice from melting.”
So its now worth the paper its written on…. Another Bush Administration farce..