Polar Bear: Interior Says Threatened

By May 14, 2008Global Warming

News release. Seems like one should read beyond the declaration “threatened” status to see what actual steps will be required under this 4(d) ruling. Also, Kempthorne emphasizes that the Endangered Species Act is not to be used to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Next Steps
To make sure the ESA is not misused to regulate global climate change, Kempthorne promised the following actions:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a 4(d) rule that states that if an activity is permissible under the stricter standards of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, it is also permissible under the ESA with respect to the polar bear. This rule, effective immediately, will ensure the protection of the bear while allowing us to continue to develop our natural resources in the arctic region in an environmentally sound way.
Director Hall will issue guidance to staff that the best scientific data available today cannot make a causal connection between harm to listed species or their habitats and greenhouse gas emissions from a specific facility, or resource development project or government action.
The Department will issue a Solicitor’s Opinion further clarifying these points.
The Department will propose common sense modifications to the existing ESA regulatory language to prevent abuse of this listing to erect a back-door climate policy outside our normal system of political accountability.
Additionally, the Department will continue to:

monitor polar bear populations and trends,
study polar bear feeding ecology,
work cooperatively with the Alaska Nanuuq Commission and the North Slope Borough for co-management of the polar bears in Alaska,
provide technical assistance to the participants of the 1988 North Slope Borough Inuvialuit Game Council Agreement for the conservation of polar bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea region and monitor the effects of oil and gas operations in the Beaufort Sea region.
The proposed ESA special 4(d) rule is available at (http://www.doi.gov/issues/polar_bears.html) for a 60 day public comment period.

There are many more documents at Interior’s homepage, which is being balky at the moment, no doubt because of traffic.

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