Thursday, October 16, 2008

Possible Habitat for Polar Bears

Habitat Needed

The U.S. government will designate critical habitat for polar bears off Alaska's coast as part of a partial settlement of a lawsuit brought by Greenpeace, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Center for Biological Diversity.

The Interior Department declared polar bears a threatened species in May, but neglected to make any stipulations for habitat protection. "You can't protect a species without protecting the place where it lives," says CBD's Kassie Siegel, adding, "After global warming, oil development is the biggest threat to polar bears."

Federal law prohibits actions that "destroy or adversely modify" designated critical habitat, which would seem to include offshore oil and gas drilling -- though with GOP vice prez candidate Sarah Palin touting "safe, environmentally friendly drilling offshore," one never can be certain.

After a rule proposal, public comment period, and public hearings, the finalized critical-habitat designation must be in place by June 30, 2010. And the one remaining polar bear by then will no doubt appreciate it.


Chrystal K. said...

I'm glad polar bears are getting a designated habitat. I love them, and I want generations after me to be able to see them.

judith said...

Polar bears are truly a majestic creature and I'm so glad to hear some action is being taken to help them. It would be a disgrace if our actions made them extinct. Having said that, this goes for a lot of other animals too. We should cherish and respect them and not destroy them or their habitat in the name of profit.


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