Polar Bear Endangered Species Act Decision Delayed

Secretary of Interior Kempthorne should postpone oil and gas lease sales in Chukchi Sea until after polar bear decision

01-07-2008 // NWF Media Team

Statement by Larry Schweiger
President & CEO, National Wildlife Federation

On U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Delay in Announcing Decision
About Polar Bears' Status under the Endangered Species Act

WASHINGTON, DC -- Delaying the decision about the polar bear's status raises suspicions that the Bush Administration is seeking to avoid scrutiny of oil and gas leases in polar bear habitat under the Endangered Species Act.

"Until a decision is made about listing the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service should postpone the sale of oil and gas leases in the Chukchi Sea.

"Polar bears in the U.S. and elsewhere are on the fast track to extinction because of global warming. The plight of the polar bear is unfortunately the tip of the iceberg, an early sign of the dangers facing America's wildlife in a warming world.

"The February 6 sale of oil and gas leases in the polar bear's habitat should not precede the decision about the polar bear's status under the Endangered Species Act, which has been delayed by up to one month past the January 9 deadline. We're calling on Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne to postpone the lease sales until after the polar bear decision is announced.

"We have a moral responsibility to address global warming to protect wildlife for our children's future."

The National Wildlife Federation inspires Americans to protect wildlife for our children's future.


Immediate Release
January 7, 2008

John Kostyack, Executive Director, Wildlife Conservation and Global Warming,
202-360-7481 cell, kostyack@nwf.org

Doug Inkley, Senior Scientist, National Wildlife Federation, 703-438-6460, inkley@nwf.org

Sterling Miller, Senior Wildlife Biologist, National Wildlife Federation, 406-541-6730, millerS@nwf.org

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