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Conservation groups sue to broaden polar bear decision

May 20, 2008 |  2:34 pm

A_polar_bear_cub_plays_with_its_motConservation groups that sued to list polar bears as threatened are back in court, the Associated Press reports, taking aim at what they say is the animals' top threat -- greenhouse gas emissions that have led to the rapid melting of polar bear habitat: sea ice.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council announced today they have challenged administrative actions by Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to keep greenhouse gas regulation off the table for a polar bear recovery plan. ...

In response to a court-ordered deadline last week, Kempthorne announced polar bears would be listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act.

But echoing President Bush, he said he would not allow the Endangered Species Act to be "misused" to regulate global climate change.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had not made a "causal connection" between development actions and loss of a polar bear, he said last week. ...

In court filings late Friday that amend their original lawsuit, the conservation groups asked U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken of Oakland to reject Kempthorne's administrative actions and apply endangered species law to polar bears.

Photo: Daniel Maurer / Associated Press

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